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BY 



SUREN D.R AN ATH SEN, M.A., Pm.D., 

LECTURER IN MAftATKA HISTORY ft,NO MARATHI 

UTGRATURIi, CALCUTTA UNIVERSITY 



Second Editjon 



Revised and Enlarged 




FUbUSHED flY T H B 

UNIVERSITY OF CALCUTTA 

19*5 







RAMA VARNA RECEAliri IIICT1TUTE. 

TRICHUR, COCHIN STATE. 




ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE 
MARATIIAS 




BY THE SAME AUTHOR 

Published by the Calcutta University 

SIVA- CHHATRAPATI 

VOL. I, PP. 284, Rs. 4-14 

Being a translation of Sabhasad bakhar with extracts* 
from Chitnis and Sivadigvijaya . 

OPINIONS 

Prof. Ramsay Muir — Your work bears all the marks 
of exact and scientific scholarship and both you and the 
University of Calcutta have every reason to be proud of 
the admirable beginning thus made in the rendering 
of an essential service to historial scholarship. 

H. Beveridge. — Mr. Sen fas done good service by 
making a new translation of Krishnaji Sabhasad's 
chronicle. 

G A. Kincaid —I had myself thought of translating 
Sabhasad's bakhar. But I am very glad you have saved 
me the trouble. 

G- S Sardcsai — I have compared the translation 
with the original and am glad to say that it is -faithful, 
elegant and yet quite simple. 

K. N. Sane. — (Vivida Dnan Vista r) On the whole 
the work of translation has been well done. 

C H- Keith Jopp-— The notes seem scholarly and 
the references to history all conceived in a judicial 
spirit. 

R. N Leilie Moore. — 

afforded me great pleasure 




ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM 
OF THE MARATHAS 

[FROM ORIGINAL SOURCES] 



BY 

SURENDRANATH SEN, M.A., Pm.D., 

LECTURER IN MAKATHA HISTORY AND MARATHI 
LITERATURE, CALCUTTA UNIVERSITY 

Second Edition 
Revised and Enlarged 




PUBLISHED BY THE 

UNIVERSITY OF CALCUTTA 
> 9 2 5 



puvncD nr ■■upsbidbalal i*«wu 

AT THl CALC on A OWITOWITT fllHi, BlNATI FOCfl, CALCUTTA. 



Reg. So. 148B. — 22-8-2$ - GOO. 




TO MY PARENTS 




PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION 



Shivaji, born in 1627, captured Torna in 1646 
and died in i68o.at the comparatively young age 
of fifty-three. Before his death he had founded 
a mighty Hindu kingdom in defiance of the 
■Sultanates of Bijapur and Golkonda, then totter- 
ing to their fall, and the Chaghatai, miscalled 
Mughal Empire, then at the zenith of its power 
under Aurangzib Alamgir. Within a decade of its 
founder's death, the infant Maratha power was 
faced with a serious crisis. The son and successor 
of Shivaji was captured and decapitated and 
the infant heir to the throne became a Mughal 
prisoner. Further expansion was out of the 
question, the very existence of the kingdom was 
threatened The Marathas undeterred by the 
power, wealth and prestige of the empire engaged 
in a life and death struggle which ended in their 
favour With the return of Shahu to his paternal 
kingdom opened a new era of conquest and 
expansion. The Maratha horsemen reached 

the extreme North-Western frontier of India, 
their horses drank the water of the Indus and 
the empire extended from sea to sea. The 




PREFACE 



_ • «» 

VIII 

Maratha empire was apparently still in its full 
vigour when a conflict with a Western power 
brought about its disruption and fall. The last 
Hindu empire of India passed away after a 
chequered existence of t70 years. 

It is commonly believed that this vast empire 
existed merely by plunder and robbery. An 
eminent linglish writer has described the Maratha 
generals as ' robbers, plunderers and scoundrels.' 
But it is very difficult to understand how an 
empire could last for over a century and half by* 
robbery and plunder alone, unless it had a surer 
and firmer basis of good government. Grant 
Duff does not answer this question. Ranade had 
set himself to this task and his brilliant chapters 
on the administrative institutions of Maharashtra 
served as an eye-opener to many, but he was 
cut off by death before his task was fully 
accomplished. 

A comprehensive work on the administrative 
system of the Marathas was wanting, but 
materials for such a work had been fast 
accumulating. The scholarly labours and 
the patriotic devotion of Sane, Rajwade, Khare, 
Rarasnis and a host of less known, but not 
less sincere, workers had brought to light such a 
mass of original documents, that it is a veritable 
Solomon’s mine and the very' first descent took 
me in the midst of treasures of high value 




PREFACE 



ix 

and 1 felt my labour amply rewarded. 1 got trie 
answer I had been seeking. 

The Marathas were not mere robbers and 
plunderers. From their original documents I 
found that they had an excellent set of 
regulations for their own empire. Further 
investigation convinced me that these regula- 
tions and administrative institutions were not 
their own inventions, they had inherited 
them from their Hindu and Muhammadan 
predecessors. The administrative system of the 
Marathas is thus of surpassing interest It 
explains the causes of the disruption and down- 
fall of the last Hindu empire, it gives a history 
of the survival and development of the old 
Hindu administrative system, it supplies an 
important and interesting illustration of inter- 
action of Hindu and Muslim principles on each 
other, and it helps us to understand the 
growth of the present British Indian administra- 
tive institutions, partly engrafted as they are 
on older Hindu and Muhammadan systems. 
This is indeed the justification for publishing 
this work which the toil of the last five years 
has produced 

The work, I know, has its limitations. It 
is an account of the Maratha Government and 
its evolution, without a strict chronological 
treatment. A serious student will here, I hope, 
b 




X 



PREFACE 



find ample indication as to where to turn 
for more information. It may be objected 
that the Hindu political philosophers quoted in 
Book III were mere theorists and probably 
they did not describe the institutions, laws 
and regulations actually prevalent in their times. 
But my aim has been to indicate the origin of 
the Maratha institutions, and the real character 
of the Hindu works on polity do not concern me 
at all. If they dealt with theories alone, the 
Maratha institutions illustrate quite well how 
many ,of • these theories were put into practice. 
There will be found repetitions, but my excuse 
is the convenience of the reader, and as 
the subject is somewhat technical, I thought it 
better not to tax his memory with unfamiliar 
terms to an excessive degree. Lastly, a compari- 
son with English institutions has been found 
necessary. The Marathas have suffered in the 
estimation of modern students, because their 
institutions have been judged by the standard 
of modern times and that is why I have 
thought it necessary to compare their laws and 
regulations with those of contemporary Europe. 
England has been specially selected for the 
simple reason that we are best familiar with her 
history, past and present, not because I have any 
bias against her. It may be that I have my 
unconscious bias for my own country, and 




PREFACE 



XI 



unconscious prejudice against the rest ; but I 
"have always tried not to indulge in any such 
feeling. 

To Sir Asutosh Mookerjec, Vice-Chancellor 
of the Calcutta University and President of the 
Post-Graduate Councils, I am specially grateful 
for the facilities and encouragement I have 
uniformly received from him. Seven years ago, 
just after completing my college education, I 
approached him with a scheme of research 
work. Inspite of his onerous duties of various 
kinds, he not only gave me a kind and patient 
hearing, but that inspiring encouragement which 
a young man needs so much before commencing 
a serious work with which he has not been 
hitherto familiar. When I left for Jubbulpore 
in 1916 to join the Robertson College there, 
I little thought that 1 should be able to 
prosecute my studies under the fostering care of 
my own alma mater. In 1917 I was appointed a 
University Lecturer. The Library then offered 
very little facilities for any serious work in 
Maratha History. Sir Asutosh promptly sent 
Rs. 500 to the late Prof. H. G. Limaye o£ 
Poona to purchase published source books of 
Maratha History for the University Library, 
and it is needless to say that but for the facilities 
he had uniformly given me, I could not have 
carried on my work. 




I-RF.FACR 



• • 

XII 

Prof. 11. G. Limaye would have been 
delighted no doubt to receive my published' 
work had he been alive to-day. In him I have 
lost a true friend, teacher and guide. 

The first training, in the use of original 
documents, I got from my teacher Principal R. B. 
Ramsbotham, M.B.E., M.A. He has laid me 
under further obligations by revising my manus- 
cript and giving me valuable suggestions. He has 
taken an interest in this work that an affectionate 
teacher alone can take in that of a pupil. 

I am indebted to Prof. D. R. Bhandarkar, 
Carmichael Professor of Ancient Indian History 
and Culture, Calcutta University, Prof. R. C. 
Majumdar, now of the Dacca University, 

Dr. B. M. Barua, Rai Bahadur B. A. Gupte, 
Mr.G. S. Sardesai, SardarTatyaSaheb Mehendale, 
Mr. D. V. Potdar, Mr. Henry Beveridge, late 
of the Bengal Civil Service, and Prof. J. N. 
Sarkar of Patna, for many useful information 
and suggestions. 1 should also take this 
opportunity of acknowledging the kind assist- 
ance I got from Messrs. T. K. Buxy, T. V. 
Mone, B. C. Watchmaker, D. G. Matange, and 
G. R. Tamhankar all of the Robertson College, 
Jubbulpore. Mr. W. S. Rowlands, then offi- 
ciating Principal of the Robertson College, 
enabled me to devote more time to my researches 
by reducing my lecture work. 




PREFACE 



xiii 

I have to thank the Oxford University Press 
and Rao Bahadur D. B. Parasnis for permission 
to reproduce the portraits of Shivaji, Sambhaji 
and Rajaram The portraits are from the 
Parasnis collection and have been reproduced 
From 'A History of the Maratha People' by 
Kincaid and Parasnis. Rao Bahadur Parasnis 
has also permitted me to reproduce two portraits 
from his Poona in Bygone Days. For two 
blocks 1 am indebted to the proprietor of the 
Masik Basumati of Calcutta. 

The tedious but nevertheless useful work of 
compiling an Index has been carefully done 
by my friend and colleague Mr. Tripurari 
Chakravarti, M.A. And last, but not the least, I am 
deeply indebted to Mr. A. C. Ghatak, B.A., 
Superintendent of the Calcutta University Press, 
for assistance of all kinds over and above what 
he is expected to render in the ordinary discharge 
of his official duties. 

I could not mention Professor Takakhav 
and Mr. Keluskar's voluminous life of Shivaji 
Maharaj in my introduction to Book I. I 
have in the meantime gone through Lai 
Kavi’s Chhatraprakash which does not seem to 
contain much that is of use to a student of 
Maratha History. 

I wish I could add an introductory chapter to 
discuss the sources of Book Ji but ill health 




XIV 



PREFACE 



and lack of time prevented me from doing so. 
Diacritical marks cause unusual delay and have 
not therefore been used in the text, but their use 
in the glossary will, it is hoped, remove to a - cer- 
tain extent, the inconvenience caused by this 
omission. These defects will be removed if the 
book ever goes through a second edition. 



Senate House ; 
Calcutta, 
18th February, /pjj. 



S. N. S. 




PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION 

The first edition of this book received an 
unexpectedly kind reception from the public and 
was exhausted within a year of its publication. 
I could not, however, revise the text until three 
months ago for reasons I need not mention here, 
and although much new material has been 
utilised, no textual change has been possible. 
1 have identified a few more taxes mentioned in 
Book I with the help of Portuguese documents, 
and two new Appendices on the Karkhanas and 
coins mentioned by SaBhasad have been added. 
An introductory chapter has been added to 
Book II briefly indicating the nature of the 
original records on which it is based, and the 
Military System of the Peshwas has received a 
more detailed treatment. The new notes on 
Chauth and the naval practices of the Marathas 
will, it is hoped, also prove interesting. 

I am very grateful to H. E. Dr. Jaime de 
Morais, Governor-General of Portuguese India and 
his Chief of the Cabinet for kindly permitting me 
to examine the unpublished Portuguese records 
in the Goa archives and to the Hon’ble the Vice- 
Chancellor and H. E. the Chancellor of the 




xvi PREFACE TO THF. SECOND EDITION 

Calcutta University for their kind recommenda- 
tion to the generous Portuguese Government. 
But for the help I received from my friends Prof. 
P. Pissurlcncar of Pangim and Dr. P. Bragan^a 
Cunha it would have been impossible to take 
the fullest advantage of the facilities that the 
recommendation of H. E. Lord Lytton and- the 
Hon’ble Sir Ewart Greaves and the courtesy of 
H. E. Dr. Jaime de Morais secured for me. 
1 am also indebted to Mr A. F. M. Abdul Ali, 
Keeper of the Imperial Records, Calcutta, for 
the use of some unpublished English records ; and 
my friend Mr. Bala Saheb Ghorpade of Poona 
has placed me under great obligation by collecting 
for my use a number of rare Marathi works. My 
friend and colleague Mr. Tripurari Chakravarti, 
M.A., has, as before, prepared the Index. But for 
the ungrudging help of Mr. A. C. Ghatak, M.A., 
Superintendent of the Calcutta University Press, 
it would have been impossible to get this book 
printed within the short period of twelve weeks. I 
also avail myself of this opportunity for publicly 
offering my grateful thanks to their Highnesses 
the Maharaja Holkar and the Maharaja Gaikwad 
for extending to this humble work their generous 
patronage. 

It is impossible for me to close this preface 
without a reference to the kindly interest that 
the late Sir Asutosh Mookerjee took in this work. 




HREKACE TO THE SECOND EDITION XVli 



Long before the second edition could be taken 
in hand the glorious career of the greatest 
Vice-Chancellor of our University was suddenly 
cut short while yet in the prime of life. With 
his usual enthusiasm he had gone through this 
work and promised to make some suggestions. 
It is needless to say that the present edition 
would have gained immensely in value had he 
been spared to make them. 



Senate House: 
The 22nd August, ty2$. 



S. N. S. 




CONTENTS 
Book I 



Page 

Our Sources of Information ... ... i 

Central Government ; Ashta Pradhan 

Council ... ... ... 28 

Revenue and Finance ... ... 76 

Organisation of ihe Military Department ... 127 

Organisation of the Navy ... ... 158 

Other Aspects of Administration ... 164 



Book II 



Sources of Information 


... t73 


The Period of Transition 


... 183 


Village Communities 


... 209 


District and Provincial Governments 


- 243 


Imperial Secretariat 


... 267 


Revenue Administration 


... 272 


Other Sources of Revenue 


... 308 


Administration of Justice 


... 347 


Social Affairs ; Prison and Police 


- 397 


Other Aspects of Administration 


... 433 


Appendices ... 


•*. 477 



Book III 

Council and State Departments ... 485 

Town Planning ... ... ... 498 




XX 



CONTENTS 



Page 



Village Communities 


• •• 


• • • 


503 


City Police 


• •• 


• •• 


522 


Land Revenue and Cesses 


• •• 


• •• 


525 


Army 




• • » 


548 


Judicial Institutions 


• •• 


• •• 


554 


Appendices 


• • • 


... 


580 


Book 


IV 






Revenue Principles 


• * • 


• • • 


593 


Revenue Policy ... 


• •• 


• •• 


609 


Military Organisation 


• • • 


• • • 


632 


The Police 


• • ■ 


Ml 


647 


The Karkhanas ... 


• • • 




656 


Glossary 


• • • 


ft! 


665 


Bibliography 


• • • 




672 


Index 


* • • 


..4 


682 




LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

Shivaji. 

Sambhaji. 

Shahu. 

Mahadaji Sindhia. 

Shivaji's image at Malwar. 

The Peshwa and his Ministers. 

Nana Fadnavis. 

Baji Rao 11. 

Maratha Gallivats attacking an English ship. 
Maratha Cavalry. 




BOOK I 

ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF SHIVAJI 





SliU ij: it Wtlwir 



l< • D I • ' " « Jl • fi* I I' 





INTRODUCTION 



Sources of Information 

A comprehensive history ol the Marat ha 
administrative system is still a desideratum. 

While dealing with the Peshwa period, we 
are confronted with such an amazing abundance 
of materials, that we can hardly expect to do 
justice to them. State-papers have been care- 
fully preserved Revenue regulations, instruc- 
tions to revenue collectors and higher officials, 
deeds of sale, and other documents, judgments 
in both civil and criminal suits, have come down 
to us in their hundreds and thousands. They 
give us a vivid picture of the government as it 
actually was in the Peshwa period. But when 
we approach the Shivaji period, we are confronted 
with such a scarcity of materials as is most dis- 
couraging. Of state-papers we have but very 
few, and they are not very important either. 
Mr. Rajwade complains 1 that during his twenty 
years of labour and research, he has hardly come 
across twenty-five important Shivaji-papers. 
Most of these papers again are political and 



1 Ihkas Ani AiHk**ik, 




2 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 



diplomatic correspondence, and do not enlighten 
us about the administrative system Fortunately, 
however, some old documents, that cannot 
properly be styled as state-papers, have after 
ages seen light, thanks to the labour of Mr. V. 
K. Raj wade. These give us useful information 
about some of the early adherents of Shivaji, 
the history of their wa/ans, sometimes an account 
of their deeds and exploits and often a long and 
exhaustive list of the taxes, cesses, and abwabs 
of those days.* From these family papers of the 
old Sardars and Jagtrdars we can frame a fairly 
accurate sketch of the administrative system of 
Shivaji, but these papers have to be used with 
extreme care and caution 

Next in importance, are the bakhars * or 
Marathi prose chronicles. 

Supremely indifferent, like their Muham- 
madan teachers, to everything that affected the 
ordinary people, the Marat ha chroniclers pay 
very little attention to the administrative system 
of their times and the economic condition of 
their country. They give lengthy accounts of 
battles, gossiping stories of the superhuman 
deeds of their heroes, interesting anecdotes of 



• These papers K *re been published b j Mr. ttajwsd* in the 8th, 
Ifith, I8th, 17th, 18th sod tbs 20th volumes of his Marathyanch^n 
Itihawanthi Bodhanen. 

• Most of these baihari h*v* been published b j Kuo Bshadar 8nn* 
in fchn KavpwttMtu Sanfrafia 




INTRODUCTION 



3 



well-known personages, and confine themselves 
mainly to the narration of political events. 
Consequently, we learn very little from them. 
Sabhasad, who wrote in 1694, is perhaps the 
most sensible as he is the earliest of Shivaji’s 
biographers. Condensed and concise in style, 
he devotes a few pages to Shivaji’s regulations, 
both civil and military. Chitragupta, who elabo- 
rated Sabhasad’s work, added a few stories and 
verses of his own composition. The only addi- 
tional information that we obtain from Chitra- 
gupta is a short page where he enumerates the 
duties of the secretariat officers. 

Malhar Ram Rao Chitnis, who wrote his 
bakhar long after Sabhasad, does not give us any 
additional information about the administrative 
system. His Rajniti is a treatise on polity, in 
which he compiles the theories of public adminis- 
tration from old Sanskrit works. It could not, 
therefore, have any bearing on the actual govern- 
ment of Maharashtra as it then existed, although 
the duties of the eight Pradhans might probably 
have been compiled from some old papers. 



Skmadtgvijaya , the most voluminous work of its 
kind, is full of legends and impossible stories, 
but has not a word to say about the working 



constitution of Maharashtra in Shivaji's da ys. 
The only thing we should note here "tHat 4 
Messrs. Dandekar and Nandurbarkar the joint 
editors of Shivadtgvijaya, have fai^^to or*we 





4 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 



their contention, that it is the work of Khando 
Ballal, son of Balaji Avaji . 4 It is in all probabi- 
lity a very recent work,- and consequently, its 
evidence has but little weight with the modern 
student, who aspires to study history as a science. 
The same editors have published another bakhar , 
S/iri Shivaji Pratap, which is nothing but a 
compilation of myths and legends The anony- 
mous author had not only no historical training, 
but he seemed to lack historical knowledge 
altogether. This bakhar is, therefore, absolutely 
useless both for a reconstruction of the political 
history of Maharashtra, and for the compilation of 
an account of Shivaji's administrative system. 
Very recently a sixth bakhar has been published 
by Mr. Bhave in his Marathi Daftar. It is only 
an elaboration of Sabhasad . The anonymous 
author has copied freely from an old manuscript 
of Sabhasad s bakhar , and his own additions 
are not at all trustworthy. About Shivaji’s 
civil and military regulations, he has nothing 
more than an extract from Sabhasad to give. 
Even there he has omitted some old and obsolete 
words, which he evidently did not understand. 

A seventh bakhar, vis., the Shahanavkalmi 
bakhar was discovered and published in the 
columns of the now defunct periodical, the 
Prabhat— by Mr. Chandorkar ; this bakhar is 

• I diaeuaaed the point more fully my frfrort, and 

raiaftii, fa tAi Mara/h* Uietory, Vot I 




INTRODUCTION 



5 



alleged to have been found by the old copyist in 
the daftar of Annaji Datto, a Brahman officer, 
who played an important part in Shivaji’s service 
It is, however, devoted mainly to political history, 
and it is not quite trustworthy 
• An English translation of a bakkar found at 
Rairi has been published by l*rof Sir G. Forrest. 
Scott -Waring, who wrote in 1811, spoke very high- 
|y of the original. This, however, has unfortu- 
nately been lost. The accuracy of the English 
translation has been challenged by the late 
Justice Telang. 1 On the whole, it may be safely 
asserted that this bakhar is not worth much 
The K ay as t ha Prabhmuhe Bakhar is very 
modern and is of no use to us. 

Lastly there remains a bakhar of peculiar 
interest. Discovered and published by Mr. V.K. 
Rajwade in the abovementioned magazine, the 
Prabhat, this bakhar is of very little historical 
value, but it is a wonderful specimen of human 
industry. The published bakhar covers more 
than one hundred pages honestly printed, and 
the w-hole of it was found inscribed on I he stone 
walls of a temple at Tanjore. 

A work of unique value and character is Sam- 
bhaji's Adnapatra or Marat hshahitii Rajniti. It 
is commonly attributed to Ramchandra Panta 
Amatya.who commenced his political career under 



* EUii&de's Rxa* of Ik* Mawtha Potccr , *60/, 




6 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 



Shivaji and was responsible for the defence of 
Maharastra during Rajarain’s absence at Jinji. 
He lived to witness the return and restoration of 
Shahu but remained loyal to the Kolhapur cause 
of which he was the mainstay after Tarabai’s fall. 
The present work is believed to have been com- 
piled in 1716 at the request of Sambhaji 11 of 
Kolhapur and was published for* the first time, 
half a century ago, in the columns of the Vividha 
Dnan Visiar of Bombay in 1875. The work, 
however, long remained unnoticed, and the 
manuscript was in the meantime lost. It 
was reprinted in 1922 from the printed text, 
when its importance was realised by Mr. G. S. 
Sardesai The language leaves no doubt about 
its antiquity and the work is most probably 
genuine. The author, whoever he might have 
been, had close personal knowledge of Shivaji's 
government. In the second decade of the 18th 
century the antifeudal policy of Shivaji had already 
been abandoned in practice, but the author still 
recommends it in a manner that leaves no doubt 
that he had served under the great Shivaji and 
was merely echoing him. 

Mention should also be made here of Jedhi 
Yanche Shakavali, published by the late 
Mr. B G. Tilak, but its main importance is 
chronological A few Marathi papers have also 
been published by the Bharat Itihas Sanshodhak 
Mandal of Poona. Some more papers have beer 




INTRODUCTION 



* 
/ 

published by Rao Bahadur Sane in his Patre 
Yadi Bagaire and by Messrs. P. V. Mawji and 
D.B. Parasnis in their Sanads and Letters. Sarde- 
sai's Marathi Riasat is not of much importance 
in this respect, though it is invaluable to a student 
of political history. And this fairly exhausts the 
materials we have in Marathi 



Sanskrit Sources 

A few years ago only two Sanskrit works 
vie., Shiva Raj Prashasti of Gaga Bhatta and 
Shiva Kaiya of Purushottam Kavi were known. 
The latter was a Maharashtra Brahman and the 
former a contemporary of Shivaji and their works 
are useless for our purpose. 

But the untiring labours of Maratha scholars 
are daily unearthing many new works composed 
by contemporary poets. Of these the Partial 
Parvat Grahanakhyana edited by Sadashiv 
Mahadev Divekar and Radha Madhava Vi/asa 
Champu edited by V. K. Rajwade have already- 
been published. The author of both these poems 
was one Jayaram Pinde, a scholar and linguist of 
no mean ability. These works may be made to 
yield, after a careful examination, many interest, 
ing historical information. But the most impor- 
tant of all such poetical biographies, Shiva 
Bharat , yet awaits publication. The work was 
first discovered by Mr. Divekar in its Tamil 




8 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF T1IE MARATHAS 

version in the Tanjore Library. But a critical 
examination of the text led Mr. Divekar to suspect 
that the original must be in Sanskrit. An ela- 
borate search proved that he was right, but we 
do not as yet know what new light it may throw 
on the civil and military institutions of Shivaji. 
The most important Sanskrit work for our pur- 
pose is Rajvyavahar Kosh attributed to Raghu- 
nath Pandit. It is a dictionary compiled at 
Shivaji’s request in which Sanskrit synonyms 
have been supplied for all current words of Per- 
sian and Arabic origin. The dictionary is in 
verse - and divided into ten different chapters or 
sections after the manner of the Amarkosha. 
The author knew the institutions and their working 
and his list of the Karkhanas and the Karkhana 
officers supplies information not available 
elsewhere. The work, short as it is, throws light 
not only on the civil institutions but also on the 
military establishments of Shivaji This invalu- 
able little work was published at Bombay as early 
as t86o by one Kashinath Gangadhar Kshatri, 
but is now extremely rare. It is needless to say 
that it deserves republication and a critical edition 
will be of immense use to all students of Maratha 
history. 

Hindi Sources. 

In Hindi, there is only one contemporary 
work — the poems of Shivaji’s court poet Bhushan. 




INTRODUCTION 



9 



His Shiva Raja Bhus hat/ and other poems may 
be of considerable literary merit, but they are of 
very little interest to a historian. Moreover, 
they do not make the slightest reference to 
Shivaji’s administrative system. Chhatra 
Prakash by Lalkavi is useless to a student of 
Maratha administrative institutions. 



Tamil and Telugu Sources. 

As has already been pointed out, Shiva Bharat 
was first discovered in its Tamil rendering. Prof. 
Krishnaswami Ayangar told me that linguistic 
evidence led him to believe that the Tamil version 
could not be very old. In a paper read before 
the Second Oriental Conference at Calcutta, the 
Late Pandit Subba Rao of Madras pointed out 
that a short biography of Shivaji was available in 
the colophon of an old Telugu work dedicated to 
one of his Tanjore relatives. The Tamil and the 
Telugu sources, however, are for most students of 
Maratha history a sealed book and cannot be 
utilised without the co-operation of Madras 
scholars. 



Persian Sources. 

Both Hindu and Muhammadan writers must 
have written a good deal about the wonderful 
career of Shivaji in Persian. There are more- 
over very important letters, so far as political 



2 




IO ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 

history is concerned, written by Jai Singh and 
other officers of Aurangzib from the Deccan. 
Whether these make any incidental refer- 
ence to Shivaji’s administrative system is 
yet to be investigated. This source, however, 
promises to be fruitful in more than one way. 
For the present, I have to be satisfied with such 
imperfect English translation as vve get in Scott's 
Fcrishta, Vol. II. and still more inaccurate and 
fragmentary translation as has been given by 
Elliot and Dowson in their History of India. 
Of the authors selected there the most important 
is Khafi Khan, but there is very little in his 
work to help us in our study of the administra- 
tive system of the Marat has. 

French Sources. 

Dr. Dellon, a French physician, visited the 
western coast of India and published a short 
account of his travels on his return home. The 
small volume was so interesting that it was tran- 
slated into English shortly after its publication. He 
praises Shivaji as a tolerant and liberal prince. But 
his information was derived mainly from hearsay 

Many French travellers came to this country 
when Shivaji rose to power. Of these the works 
of Bernier and Tavernier are well known. Both of 
them made reference to Shivaji’s military power 
and the terror he created in the minds of his 




INTRODUCTION 



I I 

enemies. Bernier alludes to the respect’ and 
consideration Shivaji had shown for persons of 
character and piety during the first sack of Surat. 
Monsieur de Thevenot visited India in 1666. He 
devotes an entire chapter to Shivaji. but his 
account of the great Maratha s career is hopelessly 
inaccurate. According to Thevenot, Shivaji 
was bom at Basse in and was thirty-five in 1664, 
when he sacked Surat. He docs not mention the 
Afzal Khan incident and credits Shivaji with the 
capture of Shaista Khan's daughter, who was 
treated with all honour and respect to which she 
was entitled. His account of Shivaji's flight from 
the Imperial Court is also untrustworthy. Martin's 
Memoirs is of great importance to students of 
military history ; the extracts published by Prof. 
J. N. Sarkar in the Proceedings of the Historical 
Records Commission, however, throw no light on 
the civil institutions of Shivaji An interesting 
account of Shivaji's Karnatak expedition has 
been left by the Jesuit missionaries of Madura 
This is available in Bertrand’s Mission de Madurc 
and an English translation of the relevant portion 
will be found in the appendices of History of the 
Madura Kayaks by Prof. R. Sathinathayer of 
Trichinopoly. The Jesuit letters substantially 
corroborate the Maratha account of the expedi- 
tion and as Shivaji undoubtedly made an adequate 
arrangement for the government of the conquered 
country, we may unhesitatingly hold that the aim of 




IS ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 



this -xpcdition was conquest and annexation and 
not merely plunder as suggested by Prof. Jadu- 
nath Sarkar.* Like Martin's Memoirs the con- 
temporary Jesuit letters compiled by Bertrand and 
the earliest French biographies of .Shivaji are of 
very little use to a student of his administrative 
system. 



Portuguese Sources. 

One of the earliest biographies of Shivaji was 
written in Portuguese. The author, Cosine da 
Guarda, styles himself as a citizen of Marmugao 
near Goa. I f is work, though composed m 
1695, was not published till 1730 and the editor 
says that the manuscript was discovered by a 
fortunate accident only. Of the author we know 
absolutely nothing. According to the Diccionario 

• Prof. Knrk.tr himaalf admita th»t civil Ooreraora were appointed 
f«* I h# newly conquered trade and an army of occupation w»n loft to 
qnetl all diatarbonrva and riainfi* lie goo. farther and eaya-" Tb»* 
diatriote that he retained in Central and Baatern My* ore a* the reealt 
of hit Kainatak expedition, had to be ooencctrd with hi* old dominion, 
by the eonqneet at the Southern comer of BIJepiir," Thla waa uSected 
aad "the country waa formed into a regular province nf Shirnji'i 
kingdom and placed and. r Jaaerdau Namyan Hanumenlo at Viceroy" 
(Bbtvnji and Hi* Timea. pp. 405.407). It (a difficult to reread!* thia 
with the Profaa.or'a dictum that. « It ia iacrndiblo that a born atrw*«w-. 
lika ShJtaji could hare- really intended to annex permnnently a tarri- 
tory on the M.drea eeatf, which waa aeparatad from hia own dow.inioaa 
by two powerful and potentially bOatile like Bljapur and 

Oolkonia. and more than 700 utile* diatnnt from hi* copital." (Shivaji 
and Hia Time., Fire! edition, pp. MM7). Thia in. however, rot the 
place to examine thia qneatioa in datail 




INTRODUCTION 



>3 



Btbliograpico For fugues, Prof Pis«urlrncar 
informs us, 7 Cosme da Guarda was not the 
real name of Shivaji's Portuguese biographer 
(0 nome de Cosme da Guarda e affectado) and 
the late Sr. J. A. Ismael Gracias seriously held 
that Guarda, though a genuine Portuguese, did 
not belong to Portuguese India at all. Guarda's 
work seems to have been known to that inde- 
fatigablc English historian Robert Orme, for 
among his manuscripts we find an index of a 
work called V'tda de Celebre Sevagy} Cosme 
da Guarda, whoever he might have been, did not 
care, like many of his contemporaries, for accu- 
racy and he gravely asserted that Shivaji, though 
popularv known as the youngest of Shahaji’s 
twelve sons, was really the offspring of an illicit 
relation between Jijabai and Dom Manoel de 
Menezes, a Portuguese gentleman of Virar near 
Bassein This naturally reminds us of Clement 
Dunning s story about the Abyssynian origin of 
Kanoji Angria. The credulity of that age ren- 
dered Guarda incapable of being overcritical, 
but strangely enough even in these days of 
historical criticism Guarda's «tory has afforded 
a source of interminable and hitter controversy 
The story was given currency in English by the 
Late Dr. Gcrson da Cunha in the 'Journal of the 



* Ximji Muhfti'ftj Coin Snnjpie Portuipioa * 

• Hill, C*ialofr*e oF ManiucripU in Kuropoan Language* belong 
ing to the Library of the India Ofcc*. Vo] If. pt I, p. 2C4. 




14 ADM I N 1 ST l< AT I V K SVSTKM OF THE MAkATHAS 

hombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society and 
it at once drew an angry retort from Mr. V. K. 
Raj wade in the Saraswali Mand'tr. Rajwade 
demolished this palpably absurd story so 
thoroughly that his article was expected to give 
the controversy a quietus. Rut only recently 
another Luso Indian writer Dr J. J. Fragoso has 
come forth to vindicate Guarda in a small 
pamphlet entitled Xivaji Maharaj Vencedar dt. 
Abdul can. He suggests that the word doze in 
" doze filhos de Sagy " was a printing mistake 
and if we substitute dois (two) for doze (twelve), 
there need not be any difficulty in accepting 
Guarda's story. Prof. Pissurlencar has given 
a crushing reply to Fragoso's contention in his 
Xivaji Maharaj Com Sangue Port agues and 
this question need not detain us any longer. 
Full of gross inaccuracies as Guarda's work is, 
it is not altogether useless to a student of 
Maratha history for it supplies some information 
about Shivaji’s navy. 

Julio Firmino Judice Hiker has published in 
his Coolecfao de Tr at ados e Concertos de pazes 
<jue o Estado da India Portugueza fez com os 
Reis e Senhores com i/ue fere relates nas partes 
da Asia e Africa Oriental the texts of two trea- 
ties concluded between Shivaji and the Portu- 
guese in 1667 and 1670 They throw some 
light on the military and naval exploits of the 
Maratha hero as well as on his diplomatic 




INTRODUCTION I 5 

activities. An English summary of the more im- 
portant clauses of these treaties will be found in 
the present writer’s Report on the Historical 
Records at Goa. 

The late Dr. Dalgado of the Academy of 
Sciences, Lisbon, informed Prof. Sarkar that 
there are no Portuguese State papers relating 
to Shivaji at Lisbon.* The perusal of Danvers's 
report also leads one to the same conclusion.*' 
None of these scholars make any reference to 
the Goa records. The courtesy of H. E. Dr. 
Jaime de Mora is, late Governor General of 
Portuguese India, afforded the present writer 
an opportunity of going through some unpub- 
lished Portuguese records embodied in the Ltvros 

dos Reis Visinhos. The first volume of Reis 

% 

Visinhos is of unique importance to the students 
of Shivaji’s administrative institutions as we come 
across here some letters throwing new light on 
the origin of Chauth. An English translation 
of these letters has been for the first time pub- 
lished in my Historical Records at Goa, but the 
Portuguese original is not yet available to the 
general reader. I am inclined to think that 
further researches at Goa and Lisbon may be 



* K*rkar, Shivnji, lit Ed., )>. 50$. 

Repoit to the Secretary of Heal* forf I Odin in Council on the 
PartiHmeae Booorda relating to the Indian, contained In thf 

Aichiro Da Torre Do Tom bo, nod the |mblio Libraries at Lisbon *cxj 
Ever*, by F. 0- Don vara. Registrar and Bapeiintendent of Uocordt, 
India Offlr*. London, 




l6 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 



rewarded with adequate results. The Portuguese 
had for so many centuries to deal with the 
Marathas, both as friends and foes, that many 
contemporary' events must have found place in 
their letters, reports and despatches. 

The Portuguese deliberately refrained from 
interfering with the ancient rights and privileges 
enjoyed by village communities' of Goa and the 
Government often instituted enquiries about the 
customary rights and perquisites of the village 
officers. The results of one such enquiry are 
available in a Foral issued by Alfonso Mexia, 
Veedor da Fazenda, as early as 1526 The text 
of this Foral is available not only in official 
publications like Codigo da s Cammunidades but 
also in such popular works as India Portugucsa by 
Lopes Mencdcs. An abstract of this important 
document was published bv R. S. White way 
in his Rise of the Portuguese Power in 
India and B. H. Baden-Powell dealt with it 
more minutely in a learned paper contributed to 
the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society in 1900 
under the heading — The Villages of Goa in the 
Early Sixteenth Century. The Portuguese also 
decided to retain the old taxes and duties levied 
by their Muhammadan predecessors and as a 
result many of these old taxes survived in Portu- 
guese India long after they had hecome obsolete 
in Maharashtra. A reference to taxes and duties 
in Portuguese India therefore sometimes enables 




INTRODUCTION 



f 7 



us to ascertain the real nature and incidents of 
similar taxes mentioned in old Marathi records. 
In this respect, Saldanha's History of Goa, 
Moniz's work on Daman, Joao Baptista Amancio 
Gracias’ Snbsidios para a Htsloria Econo mica. 
Financeira da India Portugnesa and Phillipe 
Nerry Xaviers works on village communities 
are of very gretrt use. 

As the average British Indian reader is not 
sufficiently aware of the importance of the Por- 
tuguese sources of Maratha History, I may here 
briefly indicate how much we can learn about the 
army and navy of Shivaji s successors even from 
published Portuguese works. Almost all the 
important records of a political character have 
been published by Cunha Rivara, BalscmAo, Phil- 
lipc Nerry Xavier, Ismael Gracias and others. 
Most of these published records have found a 
place in the monumental work of Judice Biker. 
They afford us an insight nut only into the mili- 
tary and naval organisation of the Marathas but 
also in their court life and civil institutions. We 
get an interesting account of Sambhaji’s cam- 
paign against Goa in Ismael Gracias s Uma Dona 
Portugnesa no cor to do Grao AfogolP In the 

11 A Porto* nesciK'cccint of this ootnpai|pi translated into Bnplith far 
tho India Ofiee has tieen published bjr Prof. Sarkar in the Journal nj 

Hyderabad Society (11*11* 20). The mini Laecarin im 

Hint paper (ju 15) however, hrm toinewhit pimled the Latticed 
Hrcfessrir, It sUtuds foe, ns ererj stadent of old Partoguaae reroedf 
know., ntitiMi H**pov« Du I g ado ha* •* plained ike word in Inf >o 

3 




l8 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 

appendices of the same work wc come across a 
few original letters about the maritime activities 
of the Angrias. Ismael Gracias has published 
almost all papers relating to the Maratha 
conquest of Bassein in O Orient e Vortuguez of 
which he was long the sole editor and principal 
contributor. No more important and reliable 
account of the Maratha military system can any- 
where be obtained than that supplied by an 
exceptionally brilliant Viceroy, the Marquis of 
Alorna, in the instructions that he left for his 
successor, the Marquis of Tavora. The original 
Portuguese work was published more than seventy 
years ago under the able editorship of F N. Xavier 
and a few extracts were quoted by Danvers 
in his Portuguese in India. The entire work 
has, however, been rendered into English by 
the present writer. The Marquis of Alorna 
did not confine himself to military matters alone, 
and his remarks upon the peculiar organisa- 
tion of the Maratha empire and its inherent 
weakness deserve careful consideration. An 
estimate of the military and naval power of the 
Marathas is found also in lustruefoes do /Join 
Joae /. the authorship of which is rightly attribut- 
ed to the celebrated Marquis of Pombal. Pombal 
had no first-hand knowledge of Maratha affairs, 
but he must have found ample materials for his 
subject in the reports and correspondence from 
India. Space does not permit me to deal with 




INTRODUCTION 



'9 

this subject in detail here, nor am 1 in a position 
to give a list of the interesting manuscript 
accounts of naval encounters between the Portu- 
guese and the Marathas, preserved at Lisbon 
and Evora. Curious readers are referred to the 
works of Cunha Rivara and Ismael Gracias. It is 
superfluous to sav that the unpublished records 
of Goa have not» all been exhaustively studied 
and they may be made to throw light where dark- 
ness now prevails. The Portuguese Government 
have appointed a distinguished Indian scholar 
as Curator of their archives at Goa, and there is 
every reason to hope that his contribution to our 
knowledge of Maratha history will not be less 
important than that made by his predecessor and 
teacher J. A. Ismael Gracias. 

English Sources. 

In English we have a number of works about 
Shivaji and the Marathas. The Surat and 
Bombay Factory Records are invaluable histori- 
cal documents, and their importance cannot be 
overestimated. They are useful to the writer 
of a political history, and some information about 
Shivaji’s navy and his commercial policy can be 
gleaned from them. 

In addition to these old factor)’ records, Eng- 
lish travellers have left us the accounts of their 
travels in the Maratha country, and English 




20 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OP THE MARAT HAS 

historians have left u9 the result of their 
researches. The earliest English traveller to 
write an account of the Maratha country and 
Shivaji's court was Fryer. A physician by 
profession, he had visited Bombay and seen 
some parts of Shivaji's dominions. But 
his stay in the Maratha country was very 
short, and his information wa.. by no means 
accurate. His account of Several Brachmins 
whose Flesh they tear with Pincers heated Red 
hot, drub them on the Shoulders to extreme 
Anguish," betrays a good deal of humour, 
but is evidently untrustworthy. Even Khafi 
Khan, who delighted in abusing Shivaji, gave 
him credit for the respect he had usually 
shown to holy places and holy men both Hindu 
and Muhammadan. 

Mannucci's Storm Do Afogor, another con- 
temporary work, has been translated into English 
by a great scholar, the late Mr. Irvine. The 
gossiping adventurer loved to give anecdotes 
in which he himself figured. He claims to have 
met Shivaji in Jai Singh's camp, but unlike 
most F.uropean writers refrains from giving 
any account of his dominions, his people and 
government. 

Robert Orme wrote his Fragments long after 
Shivaji’s death. But all that he learnt of the 
great Maratha ruler were popular legends. 
These were reproduced by John Bruce, Esq., 




INTRODUCTION 



21 



M.P. and F.R.S., Keeper of His Majesty s 
State-papers and Historiographer to the Hon'ble 
East India Company, in his Annals of the East 
India Company. Moth Ornie and Bruce failed to 
give any account of the administrative system of 
Sfmaji. What their version of political history 
is worth, will be evident from the following 
account of the night attack on Shaista Khan : 

“ In the next campaign, Aurungzcbc reinforced 
Chaest Chan $ army by sending the troops of 
the Maha- Rajah of Joudpore to join him. These 
generals were at variance with each other ; the 
Maha- Rajah, to gratify Sevagee undertook to 
assassinate Chaest — the murderers broke in on 
Chaest, who escaped with severe wound but his 
son was slain.' '* 

The most important English work, from our 
point of view, is Major Jervis’s Geographical and 
Statistical Mcmior of the Konkun. He was a 
junior contemporary of Elphinstone, and the 
work of surveying the Konkan was entrusted to 
him. While so engaged, he gathered valuable 
information about land revenue settlement, in all 
probability, from popular traditions. Hr tells us 
many things about Malik Ambar's and Shivaji's 
land revenue settlement, Annaji Datto’s survey 
and assessment, but never quotes any authority. 
It is, therefore, extremely difficult, or rather 
impossible, to verify his assertions. Hitherto I 



11 Brin;*, Vol. 11. p. 8tf. Onut more aot:iirut« tL-n ttraue. 




22 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OP THE MARATHAS 



have come across only one Marathi document , 13 
a circular letter of Annaji Datto, that supports 
Jervis's account of the bighaoni survey. But 
this does not improve our situation much. We 
can, without much hesitation, accept Iilphin- 
stone's account of the administrative system 
of the Peshwas or Sir John Malcolm's account 
of the Central India chiefs. For both of them 
had personal acquaintance with men who had 
served under the Peshwas and the Maratha and 
Rajput chiefs of Central India, and who could 
give them first-hand information. But the case 
of Jervis is altogether different. He lived and 
wrote two centuries after Shivaji. Most of the 
old documents were yet unknown in his time, and 
he had to rely mainly upon popular traditions 
transmitted from generation to generation. Con- 
sequently, it is extremely difficult either to accept 
or to reject the views of Jervis. The wricer of 
the Bombay Gazetteer , however, has accepted 
Jervis as the sole authority on the subject. 1 * 

From these old authors we turn to Ranade 
with a sense of relief. Bom in Maharashtra, 
and educated in western method, Ranade 
combined in him the three qualities so indis- 
pensable for a historian of the Marathas. 
He knew the language and traditions of his 

»• R»jic*d » 1 M I. V(J. XV, pp. MS-70. 

S-.now tki* «iiu«m my tUafttMio born drmwn to • MfcrftOii 
doanra««t published in tt/ijw&de, Vol. XXI, which, corro- 

barmtew §omo of Jcrrifl*! %ums 




INTRODUCTION 



23 



country, was well conversant with the historical 
method of the west and had ready access to all 
papers then available. With true historical 
instinct he made a deliberate departure from the 
beaten track and selected a course of his own. 
His fame to-day does not rest on the discovery 
of a new document or an unknown event, but on 
the surer basis 6f the right interpretation of the 
history of his people. He did not confine himself 
to dry details of battles and sieges, but tried to 
discover the real cause, remote and immediate, 
of the rise, progress, and downfall of the 
Marathas. This made him study the civil 
institutions of Shivaji very carefully, for they 
were, according to him, not only the outcome 
of Shivaji's genius . but also an expression 
of Maratha aspirations. It is beyond doubt that 
Ranade was the first scholar to guide us pro- 
perly to the real sources of Maratha history, as 
he was the first to perceive the real importance 
of the administrative system of Shivaji. It is 
a matter of regret that the many-sided activities 
of the great savant did not permit him to devote 
his leisure solely to the study of his country’s 
past. Modem researches have made some of 
his conclusions untenable to-day, but the credit 
of pointing out a new angle of vision belongs 
entirely to him. He might have erred in minor 
details, but while dealing with the broad princi- 
ples, his judgment never failed him. It is true 




24 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATH AS 

that we do not get in his work as much infor- 
mation as we wish for, but that is because many 
papers, now published, had not yet seen light 
when Ranade lived and wrote. 

Scott-VVaring was the first writer to attempt 
a comprehensive history of the Marathas', in 
English. His work was published in tS 1 1 . But 
we get little more than a narrative of political 
events in Scott-VVaring s History. In the 
third decade of the 19th Century, another 
scholar, destined to be famous as the historian of 
the Marathas, undertook to write out a more 
satisfactoty history. Captain Grant Duff was 
more fortunate than his predecessor in the 
attempt in more than one way. As Political 
Agent, he had ready access to all papers in the 
Satara archives. The descendant of Shivaji 
was ever ready to assist him in all possible ways. 
Perhaps many of the later spurious bakhars 
owed their origin to the zeal of Chhatrapati 
Pratap Singh to gratify the Agent Saheb. 
Above all Grant Duff had the great advantage 
of working under the guidance of Elphinstone. u 
But Grant Duff had not sufficient materials 
for sketching out a graphic account of the 
administrative system of Shivaji. Prof. H. G. 
Rawlinson's Shivaji the Mar at ha is a very 
recent publication, but it does not aim at 

11 See ElphiciHtonc’i letter quoted in Culebrooke'fl Lift ©f Klpfcin 
•tonf.Yol. II, ppi 13S-3B 




INTRODUCTION 



= 5 



dealing in detail with the civil institutions of 

Shivaji. Another recent work dealing with 

Shivaji is the first volume of the History of 
the Maratha People by Messrs. Kincaid and 
Parasnis. From the great mass of published 

materials and the still greater mass of 
unpublished documents in the possession of 
Rao Bahadur D* B. Parasnis, it was expected 
that the long felt want would at last be 

removed. But we have again been disappointed. 
Far from giving us a comprehensive account 
of Shivaji'* administrative system, the joint 
authors have not even made any serious attempt 
to supplement our knowledge in that direction 
Prof. Takkhav and Mr. Keluskar have devoted 
one long chapter to the administrative institutions 
in their voluminous Life of Shivaji Maharaj. 

Sydney Owen of Oxford has drawn a brilliant 
sketch of Shivaji in his India on the Eve of 
the British Conquest ; but it is only a study 
of Shivaji’s political career, Pringle Kennedy 
has also given us a charming picture of Shivaji 
and Maharashtra in his History of the Great 
Moghuls. But neither of these scholars studied 
the original documents. They relied mainly 
on such secondary authorities, as Khafi Khan, 
Orme and Grant Duff, and their aim has been 
to write a readable and sensible summary for 
the general run of readers. From them, there- 
fore, we should not expect anything that we do 
4 




26 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 

not get elsewhere. Maratha history has for them 
only a relative interest. 

Prof. Jadunath Sarkar's Shivaji and His 
Times is important and interesting in its own 
way. He has utilised many sources of Maratha 
history hitherto unexplored. The chapter on 
Shivaji s navy is of special interest to us. 

A few articles on Maratha history were pub- 
lished in the Journal of the Bombay Branch of 
the Royal Asiatic Society. The following are 
the most useful for our purpose : 

1. Kanade — Currencies and Mints under 
Maharatta Rule. 

2. J. E. Abbott — A preliminary study of 
the Shiva rat or Chhatrapati Coins. 

3. P. V. Mawji — Shivaji s Sicarajya. 

4. Codrington — Seals of Satara Kingdom 

So far as my information goes, no attempt has 

yet been made of sifting and examining these 
scattered materials on scientific lines and of 
presenting the results in a handy and intelligi- 
ble form to the ordinary student No one 
will contest that such an endeavour is worth 
making. In the following pages, it has been 
my aim to present a fairly accurate sketch of 
the Maratha government, its principle and 
working. I have, for the sake of convenient 
treatment, divided the history of the Maratha 
administrative system into two periods. The 
first period opens with the rise of Shivaji and 




INTKOOUCTION 



*7 



closes with the accession of Shahu The second 
period begins with the accession of Shahu and 
ends in 1818, when the Peshwas territories were 
finally annexed to the British dominions. The 
administrative system of Shivaji practically 
continued unchanged till the death of Rajaram, 
and the Peshwas also found it convenient to 
leave the old system intact with a few changes 
in the central government. Otherwise, the ad- 
ministrative system of Shivaji was, for all essential 
purposes, identical with that of the Peshwas. It 
will, therefore, be my duty to indicate the few 
differences that existed in theory and practice 
between the governments of the two periods. 
But there is another interesting enquiry to be 
made. Shivaji was not the creator of a new 
system. He modified and reformed what he 
had inherited from his Hindu and Muhammadan 
predecessors. Every administrative system has 
its roots in the past and the Maratha system 
was by no means an exception. I have made 
an attempt to trace the growth and development 
of the Maratha institutions from their old Hindu 
prototypes. But my account does not claim 
to be complete and should not be treated as 
the last word on this comprehensive subject. 




CHAPTER I 

Central Government ; Ashta Pradhan 
Council. 

/. Disorder and anarchy a heritage : 

“ Shivaji Raja was famous for His forts," says 
LokahitavadL' He had captured and built no 
less than two hundred and forty forts and 
strongholds.* He used to prize them highly and 
large sums were usually granted for their up- 
keep and repair.* The importance of these 
forts in a defensive war had been amply 
demonstrated in his lifelong struggle against 
the Mughals, yet no one will concede for a 
moment that fortification of inaccessible hills 
and rocky isles formed Shivaji’s best claim 
to the reverence of posterity. His greatness 
as a military leader has never been contested, 
but his greatness as a civil administrator is 
perhaps still more undoubted. The Marathas 
have been well known for their military prowess 
from time immemorial. The old Rashtrikas, their 

• Lok*bilavmli. Aitih.uk Goahti. 

• pp. 08-101 sod 8 en. 8 iv 4 chl.atn 4 p.li, p p. 140-148 

• Rajwade, M I. R, VoL VIII, ,.p. 17-10 




ASHTA PRADHAN COUNCIL 29 

ancestors, were soldiers ot no mean reputa:ion. 
They had fought under the banner of the 
Chalukya prince Pulakeshin and beaten back 
the victorious army of the great Ifarshavardhan 
Ferishta tells us how difficult the Bahmani 
kings found it to tackle the mountain chiefs 
of Maharashtra. They had again won fresh 
laurels under the celebrated Malik Ambar, 
when the Mughal forces of the great Akbar 
had to beat an ignominous retreat before them. 
Shivaji, therefore, found the materials for an 
efficient army ready made. The rocks and hills, 
the mountain passes of his native land, offered 
him suitable sites for impregnable forts. But 
neither the nature of the country nor the 
character of its inhabitants was in favour of 
the establishment of an orderly government. 

Shivaji had to evolve order out of chaos. The 
Nizamshahi dynasty had been overthrown by 
the Mughal arms while Shivaji was still a 
little child The Bijapur government was not 
strong enough to maintain peace and order. 
The country was devastated by war. and even 
the neighbourhood of Poona was depopulated. 
Dadaji Konddev had to offer rewards for kill- 
ing wolves' that infested the uncultivated 
fields and deserted homesteads and the people 
who lived in the Mawal valley were in many 



• Bombay t 




30 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 

respects worse tnan wild oeasts. blood leud was 
the order of the day, and plunder and rapine 
formed the normal state of things. Almost 
ever)' watan had two or more claimants and 
ihey fought to the bitter end. In his blind 
fury the Maratha watandar felt no pity for 
his rival’s widow and orphan children. But 
even the apparent destruction of the family 
would not bring the feud to an end.- The loyalty 
of an old adherent would often save a pregnant 
lady or an infant heir in some village or moun- 
tain fastness far away from their native hamlet. 
The child would never be allowed to forget the 
wrongs of his family. When grown up he 
was sure to avenge his dead relations, and 
plundered house.® The anarchy of the time 
has left its marks on the family papers of the 
old Deshmukhs, and nowhere do we get a more 
terrible account of these feuds in all their 
horrors and bloodshed than in the papers of the 
Jagdales of Masur and the Jedhes of Rohid- 
khorc. The Jagdales could not even count on 
the fidelity of their own servants. Their family 
history runs as follows : 

"The Desai of Karhad was Jagde Rau Rajgar- 
dal Deshmukh. He had two wives, they had 
four sons ; Babaji Rau was the son of the first 

• lie wo old often seek the eawatanc* of e powerful neighbour, 
ga nermUy at the price of a portion of the riieputad watan, and (hit tnan 
woald take *p the qunrrw) u* If H wi* hie on a. See Raj wade, 

Vol. XT, pp 117-1 ia. 




ASHTA PRADHAN COUNCIL 



3 



wife. The sons of the second were three, the 

eldest Ramaji Rau, the second Vithoji Rau, and 

the youngest, Dayaji Rau. Such were the four 

(sons). Then the father became old, and they 

began to quarrel. The father said, “ You should 

not quarrel 1 shall divide among you what is 

yours so he said. Then he gave to the eldest 

Babaji Rau the Patilship and the Deshmukhi of 

Masur and the villages under its jurisdiction 

To Ramaji Rau (and others) he gave four 

villages. Karhad. Aud and two other villages 

under the jurisdiction of Karhad. Then Ramaji 

Rau stationed two barbers of Aud as his agents 

at Karhad and two clerks, Raghunath Pant and 

another, for the work of management. * * • 

At that time the barber, the clerk and the Mokasi 

• 

had united. Then these three decided to murder 
the three brothers Ramaji Rau, Vithoji Rau and 
Dayaji Rau. They shut the two brothers Ramaji 
and Dayaji Rau in a room and murdered (them). 
Then the remaining brother Vithoji Rau fled 
and came to Masur. * * * At that time 
the Patilship of Targaon also was ours. A 
Brahman was stationed there as an agent. The 
Brahman engaged two servants Kaligade and 

Khochre and he and his son proceeded to 

Benares ; on the way they were murdered by 
Kaligade and Khochre. Then these two began 
to quarrel about the Patilship. * » • 

And Babaji Rau became very old. He had 




32 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 

two* sons — the elder Vithoji and the younger 
Kumaji. A mali (gardener) was in his service. 
Every day five maunds of flowers were strewn 
on his bedstead for Babaji Rau’s enjoyment. 
Then he became very old and the mujavar 
(sweepers of the mosque) waxed strong in the 
village. The sons of his old age (being very 
young) were 4 and i£ years of age. So he 
engaged the mali for the management of his 
household, and for the management of the 
fields was engaged a dhangar who tended (his) 
sheep. Mangi dhangarin was his mother. The 
mujavar, the mali and the dhangarin made a 
common cause and decided to murder Babaji 
Rau and his children. ♦ • ■ And then the 

murderers came. They wrapped the younger 
son in a rug and threw him below the cot and 
murdered Babaji Rau in his bed. Then the 
elder son said, ' I have recognised you. You are 
the sweepers of the village mosque and you 
have murdered my father. Thus he spoke, 
and they murdered him. Babaji 5 wife had 
concealed herself in a comer. She fled to 
Chitli with the younger son Kumaji. These 
arc by no means the only murders in the bloody 
annals of the Jagdale family. The inujavars 
did not escape unpunished. Young Kumaji 
wreaked a terrible vengeance and decapitated 
three of them.' Shahaji, the father of Shivaji, 



• M.t -S-. VoL XV, p 9. 




ASHTA PRADHAN COUNCII 



33 



took the Patilship of Masur with the life of its 
owner, an uncle of Mahadji Jagdale Deshmukh . 7 
The revenge of those irreconcilable spirits knew 
no awe or respect for power, and the Jagdales 
sought a strong ally to assert their claim against 
SHahaji's son Shivaji. But their connection 
with the Mughals brought fresh disasters on 
them and at length these turbulent Deshmukhs 
had to forget their pride and seek Shivaji's 
protection and patronage. 

If the Jagdale anna! is a savage one, no less 
gruesome is that of the Jedhes. One of the 
two Jedhe brothers, while returning from the 
Adilshahi capital with a farman for their watan, 
was waylaid and murdered by one Khopre, a rival 
claimant. The surviving brother Baji fled to the 
sea coast, assembled a few adherents, purchased 
the assistance of twelve good swordsmen at the 
cost of a portion of his ancestral property, and 
calmly waited for a suitable opportunity. Such 
an opportunity came, when Khopre, off his 
guard, was celebrating his marriage. Hardly 
were the nuptials over, than Baji Jedhe with 
his followers fell upon Khopre and murdered 
him with sixty of his attendants. Kanhoji, a 
descendant of Baji, became so powerful that he 
defied the authority of the Adilshahi king. 
He left seven sons ; the youngest of whom 
Naikji was won over by the Sultan : two of 



' Rajiradc, V«l. XV. V 1. 




34 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 

his elder brothers killed him in their anger, 
and were in their turn murdered by Naikji's 
widow Ansaba, who afterwards gave birth to a 
posthumous son. Her infuriated brothers-in- 
law had no mercy either for the widow or for 
her baby. Ansaba was soon after murderdd. 
but the devotion of a nurse saved the child 
who took shelter with Baji Pasalkar. Hardly 
was the family dissension over than Kanhoji, 
son of Xaikji, began to quarrel with the 
Bandal Deshmukh and a bloodv battle was 

W 

fought. Their differences were settled when 
Kanhoji entered the service of Shivaji.* But 
the Khopres, though humbled, had not been 
rendered altogether harmless. They joined 
Afzal Khan against their rivals' master, Shivaji. 1 
Such were the men whom Shivaji had to deal 
with and the times in which he had to 
work. 

3. Further Difficulties'. 

He was further handicapped in his work of 
reorganisation and reform by the ignorant 
indifference of his subordinates and lack of 
comprehension on their part. The art of war, as 
a source of honour and emolument, appealed to 
them more than the art of peace. If they had 
been allowed to follow their individual inclination, 

• S»rdr»«i, p*.. 173.174. 

* fUjn^de, U.T.S., VoL XV, p. 




ASHTA PRADHAN COUNCIL 



35 



they would have gladly renounced the work of 
consolidation for a campaign of conquest. No 
less a man than Nilo Pant Mazumdar had 
earnestly prayed to be relieved of his civil duties 
so that he might “ render military service, like 
other men and capture forts when necessary.’' 
Nor was he reconciled to his duties until Shivaji 
had assured him that his services in his civil 
capacity were as important as those of a 
commanding officer and would be appreciated 
in the same manner as the military exploits of the 
Peshwa 

But Shivaji never tried to achieve the impos- 
sible. A practical statesman, he wisely rejected 
all unworkable ideals. He knew that the diffi- 
culties in his way were great, but he also knew 
that without an orderly government his kingdom 
would not be worth a moment’s purchase, and 
so long as private war and blood feuds continued, 
he would not be able to introduce in his infant 
army that strict discipline which was essentially 
required for his very existence. Peace and 
order were absolutely necessary. But unless 
he could unite under his banner the numer- 
ous chiefs who exercised petty sovereignty 
in Maharashtra, a strong orderly government 
would be an idle dream. Once his aim was 

"• BnjwiWle. M. I. 8.. Vol. Till., pp. S.B. Tfce i. rmy 

Important, bnt Mn trs&slntlnn Is Hr! ns Iks pmi»h 

jjiren nbovr- 




36 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 

defined, he refused to be hampered by ordinary 
scruples. Policy required that he should try 
conciliation first He was frequently unsuccess- 
fill, but whenever conciliation failed he did 
not hesitate to take stronger measures One 
by one, the Deshmukhs of Mawal submitted tn 
his authority and a considerable portion of the 
Bijapur territory was conquered It was now 
that Shivaji had to frame a working scheme of 
government; but he was confronted with a 
very difficult problem. He had to decide how 
far the old system should be continued and 
to what extent reformed. Wholesale conserva- 
tion and wholesale reform were equally out of 
question. The first would grant a fresh lease of 
life to feudalism with its concomitant evils of 
private war, blood feud, anarchy and oppression. 

A keen observer, he did not fail to notice the 
evil effects of the feudal system in the tottering 
kingdoms of Bijapur and Golkonda. But »hc 
total abolition of feudalism would alienate most 
of his countrymen, some of whom had submitted 
to him but reluctantly He knew that the great 
defect of the Maratha character was its selfish 
individualism. The Maratha watandar thought 
of his watan first and of his country afterwards. 
Shivaji had. therefore, to strike a mean between 
the two extremes that would at the same time 
reconcile the watandars and ensure comparative 
order and peace. 




ASHTA HKADHAN COUNCIL 



37 



J. General Structure of Govern turn t 

The village communities in Soul hern India 
flourished from the dawn of history. When these 
democratic institutions first came into existence 
none can tell. 11 But in the absence of a highly 
developed central government, as we now have, 
the village communities served the needs of the 
time admirably. Shivaji decided to leave them 
undisturbed in their internal organisation. In fact 
the village republics exercised almost the same 
powers, enjoyed the same privileges and under- 
went the same responsibilities from the lime of 
their origin down to the establishment of the 
British Government in India, when many of their 
immunities and privileges were found incompatible 
with a highly centralised modern government. 
Over a group of these self-contained units had 
formerly been placed the Deshmukhs and the 
Deshpandes. Originally appointed for revenue 
collection, they gradually made their office heredi- 
tary and assumed and exercised almost sovereign 
authority. The circumstances of the times, and 
the geographical features of the country, helped 
this feudal evolution But Shivaji could not allow 
this state of things to go on uninterrupted. Feudal- 
ism meant the negation of a strong monarchy. 
Shivaji, therefore, appointed his own revenue 
officers, but the Deshmukhs and the Deshpandes 

• • Tit* lUr*la* TilUge will b# full}* ile*eribe<l in Bcok II. 




38 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 

were left in the enjoyment of their old 
rights and perquisites. They were on no 
account to exercise their old tyranny. Rayats 
were given to understand that henceforth they 
would have nothing to do with the Desais and 
the Deshmukhs. To render them altogether 
harmless Shivaji further prohibited them to 
build any walled or bastioned castle, and like 
Henry II of England, demolished some of the 
strongholds of these local tyrants.” “ In the 
provinces," Sabhasad says, " the rayats were 
not to be subjected to the jurisdiction and 
regulations of the Zamindar, such as the Desh- 
mukh and the Desai. If they offer to plunder 
the rayats, by assuming authority (over them], 
it does not lie in their power. The Adilshahi, 
the Nizamshahi and the Mughlai Desh were 
conquered [by Shivaji J. In the Dcsh all the 
rayats used to be under the Patil and the 
Kulkarni of those places, and the Deshmukhs. 
They used to make the collection and to pay 
an unspecified sum (as tribute). For a village, 
where the Mirasdars took one to two thousand 
(lions or Rupees?), (they) used to render two 
hundred to three hundred to the Government 
as quit-rent. Therefore the Mirasdar grew 
wealthy and strengthened (himself) by build- 
ing bastions, castles and strongholds in the 



• p|i. ■lid Sen. «i vncKh*Wi»|»ur jiju J!7*3v 




ASHTA PRADHAN COUNCI I. 



39 



village and enlisting footmen and musketeers 
They did not care to wait on the revenue 
officers. If the revenue officers said that they 
could pay more revenue (the Mirasdars) stood up 
to quarrel with them. In this way (they grew) 
unruly and forcibly misappropriated the (lands 
in the) Desh. On this account did the Raja 
demolish the bastions, the castles and the strong- 
holds after conquering the Desh. Where there 
were important forts, he posted his own garrison 
And nothing was left in the hands of the Miras- 
dars. This done, (he) prohibited all that the 
Mirasdars used to take at their sweet will, by 
main (right) or revenue farming, and fixed the 
rates of due in cash and grains for the Zamindars, 
as well as of the rights and the perquisites of the 
Deshmukh, the Deshkulkarni, and the Patil 
(and) the Kulkarni, according to the yield of 
the village. The Zamindars were prohibited 
to build bastioned castles. (They were to) build 
houses (and) live (therein). Such were the 
regulations for the provinces. In this manner 
the danger of feudal anarchy was to some extent 
averted. 

4. Ashta Pradkan Council : 

Like the Kamavisdars and the Subhedars of 
the Peshwa period, the Karkuns, the Tarafdars, 
the Havaldars and the Subhedars of Shivaji had to 
look after all the branches of Civil administration. 




40 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OP TUP. MARATHAS 

At the head of the government was the king 
himself, assisted by a council of state. It was 
known as the Ashta Pradhan Council, as eight 
ministers had seats in it. These were : 

1. The Pcshwa or the Mukhya Pradhan. . 

2. The Mazumdar or the Amatya. 

3. The Waknis or the Mantri. 

4. The Dabir or the Sumanta. 

5. The Surnis or the Sachiv. 

6. The Pandit Rao, or the Royal Priest. 

7. The Senapati or the Commander-in-Chief. 

8. The Nyayadhish or the Chief Justice. 

When this council was first organised, we do 
not precisely know. At the time of the corona- 
tion the eight® 4 pradhans ’ (ministers) had stood 
on either side of the throne to pour holy water 
from gold and silver jars and basins, over the 
king's head. 14 Malhar Ram Rao Chitnis tells 
us that it was then that the council came 
into being. 14 These offices, however, were by 
no means new. Though the Mukhya Pradhan, 
the Amatya, the Mantri, the Sumanta, the 

Sabhnati<l, p. W; ChitnU, p. 162. Sen. !*hivaehh*ir*pMi, p. 115. 

»• ObltdU, p. 161. 

Bui nit ihrue office*, exieted loag Mar* the coronation. Bj tin? 
won! AehLapradhnn her*. Chimin, therefor*. not mew the mere 

of) cm hut the ooaecil Id the east wmtenoe he mention* the appoint 
went of tbn two Socretariet. Then* wh/p nl*o by m» means new 
appointment •- ll U quite pomiblo that tbit old officer* were formally 
reappointed, according to the rite* pro Kiri beil l»r the ShiufroA for the 
coronation Of remnej. See a ! *1 LofcahKaTadi, Aitihmsik OoihtJ, p ? 




ASHTHA PRADHAN COUNCIL 4 1 

% 

Sachiv and the Senapati were unknown, people 
were quite familiar with the Peshwa, the Mazum- 
dar, the Waknis, the Dabir, the Sumis, and the 
Samobat. What Shivaji did, was to retain the 
old posts with new Sanskrit designations. But 
whether these new designations meant any 
new power or new responsibility, is not certain. 
It is, however, significant that an official paper 
(kanujabta) was drawn in the first year of the 
Abhisheka era to enumerate the duties of the 
eight Councillors (pradhans) and other heads of 
departments. 1 ' But it is quite possible that this 
paper was drawn up simply to enforce a stricter 
method in the existing organisation. Sabhasad 
tells us that the following officers had enjoyed 
the privilege of taking part in the coronation 
ceremony as members of the Ashta Pradhan 
council : 

1. Moro Pant, son of Trimbak Pant, as 
Mukhya Pradhan. 

2. Naro Nilkantha and Ramchandra Nil- 
kantha as joint Amatya. 

3. The son of Kaghunath Rao as Pandit 
Rao. 

4. Hambir Rao Mohite as Senapati. 

5. Dattaji Trimbak as Mantri. 

6. Ramchandra Pant, son of Trimbakji Son- 
dev Dabir as Sumanta. 

'* Sabhnml. p. 8'J. SLiv*chhatraf»*u, p. Iltt. 



6 




42 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THT MARATHAS 



7. Annaji Pant (Datto) as Sachiv. 

8. Niraji Rauji as Nyayadhish." 

These men had already held these offices for 
some time past. Sabhasad, while describing the 
coronation, refers simply to their new Sanskrit 
designations, but does not say that these posts 
were newly created. It is quite possible that 
Chitnis also had in his mind the introduction 
of Sanskrit designations when he wrote of the 
Raja s decision of appointing a council of eight. 
Both Sabhasad and Chitnis make frequent men- 
tion of the past incumbents of these offices. 
Sabhasad, for example, says that one Sham Rao 
Nilkanth was Moro Trimbak Pingle s l * predecessor 
in the Peshwaship.’® Shivaji's first Sarnobat was 
one Tukoji Chor Maratha.® He was succeeded 
by Mankoji Dahatonde.*' We do not know why 
Tukoji lost his master s confidence, but after the 
conquest of Jawli, the chief command of the army 
was conferred on Netaji PalkaP* as Mankoji had 
in the interval died. Netaji was dismissed for his 
failure to succour Panhala,® and an enterprising 



lf Raimi, Patr«j»di p, 367. A 1*0 in* Saimi* And 

by P. V Mawji ad a U V. pf> 123-24 

'• I do im* call bun Umd Trim* I bo §* dmcribtd a* Trimbak mint 
Moretbu**, M imsUwiir son of Triro'^k, in lb* oouploi on bia 

*e*J 

'• Sabbamd, pp. 7, 8, Hi Ke»hir*a' Dmnea. Vol 1, p. 41. 

»° Satihaaad. p 8. 

• » Ibid, 9. 

•* !d\d, II. 



* * ShnbhAmd, p. 59. 




ASHTHA PRADHAN COUNCIL 



43 



cavalry officer, Kadtaji Gujar, obtained the Samo- 
balship with the title of Pratap Rao. Finally 
after Pratap Rao’s heroic death in a hard-fought 
battle, his lieutenant Hasaji Mohite was pro- 
moted to be Commander-in-Chief .* 4 It was this 
Hasaji or Hambir Rao, the fifth or according to 
another account, the sixth Samobat,® who stood 
with a silver jar. filled with milk at the time 
of the ceremonial bath, during Shivaji's coro- 
nation.® Similarly Nilo Sondev and Gangaji 
Mangaji had served as Sumis and Waknis res- 
pectively, before Annaji Datto and Dattaji 
Trimbak * 7 It is also certain that both before 
and after his coronation, Shivaji held a council of 
these and other officers To cite only one 
instance, when Afzal Khan invaded his infant 
kingdom, Shivaji called a council of his principal 
ministers, among whom figured not only Moro 
Pant, Gangaji Mangaji, Netaji Palkar and 
Raghunalh Ballal, (most of them afterwards 
members of the Ashta Pradhan Council), but 
also men like Gomaji Naik, Krishnaji Naik and 
Subhanji Naik." It docs not appear, therefore, 
that the council was first organised at the time 
of the coronation. Nor can it be maintained 

ifca, |. Tv. 

11 ,1. N ftuiiir ma ( VI Him ncoinJin^ ho /iiyaifi 8lu»vtvi Adrjkj Kai> 
Pratap K*» Oojor. 

Chita*, p. 162 

H .•‘•bhaaaii, p. 11. &?o, Slvaekkaiimpati, pp. 7-n 

•" ftahhtmd. y U. gtVMttlikaLrstpati, p it. 




44 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 



tnat the Ashta Pradhan Council owed its origin 
to the creative genius of Shivaji. The Persian 
designation of such officers as the Dabir, the 
Sumis, the Waknis, and the Mazumdar clearly 
shows that analogous offices did exist under the 
Muhammadan governments of the south Men- 
tion has also been made of such councils in 
old Hindu works on polity Ifl the Shukranili, 
for example, we find that the chief Priest and 
the Chief Justice should have seats in the 
cabinet, and this was a special feature of Shivaji's 
council.® 

When the Peshwas rose to power, most of 
these offices had become hereditary, but in 
Shivaji's time, the pradhans (councillors) were 
not appointed for life. They were liable to be 
dismissed at the king’s pleasure and could 
not transmit their office to their sons or brothers. 
In the Peshwa period principal officers generally 
became founders of new families. This was 
impossible in Shivaji’s time. First, because 
he took good care to keep all offices, both high 
and low, free from a hereditary character. We 
have seen how six Commanders-in-Chief had been 
in succession appointed by Shivaji. but not in 
a single case had he selected for the post a 
near relative of the last incumbent. Suryaji 
Malsure was no doubt appointed Subhedar of 



M A luvv tlt-iJiiTciJ ditrotnirxi i* r*fi*>rve«i a f'ir B<v»k HI. 




ASHTHA PRADHAN COUNCI I- 45 

the Mawali forces, after the death of his brother 
Tanaji ; but in this case the officer in question 
had rendered such distinguished service as 
fully deserved public recognition.* Secondly, 
because Shivaji made it a rule not to assign 

Jagir to any office, civil or military. 
It was strictly laid down that no soldier or 
military officer should have any thing to do 
with the revenue collection of the country and 
there was, in those days of anarchy and war, 
hardly any officer who was not required to take 
up arms. In Sabhasad's account we find that, 
“the balance of their dues (was paid by) ' varats ' 
(orders) either on the Huzur (central govern- 
ment) or on the district (establishments). 
In this manner were their annual accounts 
punctually settled. Mokasa mahals or villages 
with absolute rights should on no account be 
granted to the (men in the) army, the militia 
and the garrisons of the fort. Every payment 
should be made by ' varats ’ or with cash 
from the treasury. None but the Karkuns had 
authority over the lands. All payments to 
the army, the militia, and the garrison, should 
be made by the Karkuns." 81 These wise regu- 
lations had their desired effect, and arrested for 
the time being the growth of feudalism in Maha- 
rashtra. In the words of Ranade, “ None of 

,n SabbBHul. pp. MI-67. Son. 8iv»chh*txnpnti, pp. 72-74. 

” p. 8 «k>. pp. *8-84 




46 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 

the .great men, who distinguished themselves in 
Shivaji’s time, were able to hand over to their 
descendants large landed estates. Neither Moro- 
pant Pingle nor Abaji Sondcv, nor Ragho Ballal 
or Datto Annaji or Niraji Raoji, among the 
Brahmans, nor the Malusares or Ranks, .or 
Pratap Rao Gujar, Nctaji Palkar. Hambirrao 
Mohite or the Maratha Sardajs, were able to 
found ancient families such as those which 
Shahu's ministers in the early part of the 
eighteenth century succeeded in doing.”* 

Though we do not know precisely when the 
Ashta Pradhan Council came into being, yet we 
have a fairly accurate knowledge of what was 
expected of the pradhans In a paper” already 
referred to, their duties have been clearly defined 
From this and other state papers, it does not 
appear that Shiva ji aimed at a bureaucratic form 
of government A great Maharashtra scholar, 
the late Justice Ranade, has thrown clear 
hints that the Ashta Pradhan Council, in its 
essential characteristics, bore a striking resem- 
blance to the Viceroy's Executive Council. Says 
the great savant, “The Pestma was Prime 
Minister, next to the king and was at the head 
of both the civil and military administrations, 
and sat first on the right hand below the throne. 
The Senapati was in charge of the military 



•• R M. •*., pp. 1W-131I 

*• Hum-. Rnlrn j*. 3-S7. 




ASHTA PRAOHAN COUNCIL 47 

administration, and sat first on the left side. 
Amatya and Sac hie sat next to the Peskwa, 
while the Afantrt sat next below the Sack tv 
and was in charge of the king's private affairs. 
The Snmant was Foreign Secretary, and sal 
below the Senapati on the left. Next came 
Pandit rao , who had charge of the ecclesiastical 
department, and 'below him on the left side sat 
the Chief Justice. It will be seen from these 
details that the Ashta Pradhan system has its 
counterpart in the present constitution of the 
Government of India. The Governor-General and 
Viceroy occupies the place nf the Peskwa ; next 
comes the Commandcr-in-Chief of the army. 
The Finance and Foreign Ministers come next. 
In the Government o! India, the Executive Coun- 
cil makes no room for the head of the ecclesiastical 
department, or for the Chief Justice on one side 
and the Private Secretary on the other, and 
in their place sit the Member in Charge of the 
Hbme Department, the Legal Member, and the 
Public Works Minister. These variations arc 
due to the difference of circumstances, but the 
conception which lies at the bottom of both 
systems is the same of having a council of the 
highest officers of the State, sitting together to 
assist the king in the proper discharge of his 
duties.” ** 



Bcnade, It M P., p|>. 126-1 /I 




48 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OK THE MARATHAS 

Although there seems to be some apparent 
resemblance between the Ashta Pradhan Council 
of Shivaji and the Executive Council of the 
V'iceroy and the Governor-General of India, the 
principles underlying the two are by no means 
identical The Government in India is widfcly 
known to be a bureaucracy. The subordinate 
officers are responsible to the hevtds of their de- 
partments and these departmental heads are 
mainly responsible for initiating the policy 
in the particular branches of administration 
entrusted to them Although they can and do 
deliberate upon grave questions affecting depart- 
ments other than theirs, there is a clear-cut 
division of duties. The Law Member is never 
called upon to lead a military expedition, nor is 
the Commander-in-Chief required to hear a title 
suit. But six out of the eight members of 
Shivaji’s council had to perform military duties 
whenevcr.necessary, and all the eight had, as 
occasions arose, to attend a llazir Majalasi to 
hear appeals in both civil and criminal cases. 
The first Pandit Rao“ had to render diplomatic 
service, when he was sent on an embassy to Jai 
Singh. This is not, however, the only difference. 
The Viceroy, though he can in theory override 
the decisions of his Executive Council, is in prac- 
tice expected to be guided by it. But neither 



i* SUbluand, p. *1. Son, PP 504U- 




ASHTA PKADHAN COUNC1I 49 

X 

his subjects, nor his officers ever expected that 
Shivaji should always be guided by the wisdom 
of the Councillors. He was not bound to consult 
them, unless he felt inclined to do so The 
ministers were frequently absent on distant 
expeditions and some of them were further 
encumbered with the heavy work of provincial 
governments. Shvvaji's ministers cannot, there- 
fore, be regarded as heads of departments and his 
Government was by no means a bureaucracy. 
It was, if anything, an autocracy. But the 
autocrat, fortunately for his people, was a practi- 
cal statesman and acted as a “ Benevolent 
Despot.” His ministers were his servants, proud 
to carry out his instructions and his government 
had more resemblance with those of his Hindu 
and Muhammadan predecessors than with the 
British Government of to-dav. 



5. The Duties 0/ the Prad harts \ 

A detailed statement of the duties of the 
eight pradhans will further confirm the above 
conclusion And nothing will serve our purpose 
better than the kanujabta (memorandum) drawn 
up in the first year of the coronation (Abhisheka) 
era and published by Rao Bahadur Kashinath 
Narayan Sane. All that is required here is to 
reproduce the paper in full 
7 




50 administrative SYSTEM ok the marathas 



Shri. 

“ The Kanu JabU of tlie year i of the corona^ 
lion era the Sambatsar being Ananda by name, 
Tuesday, the thirteenth day of Jestha. 

The Mukhya Pradhan should perform all 
works of administration. He should put his 
seal on official letters and documents. He should 
make expeditions with the anny and wage war 
and make necessary arrangements for the pre- 
servation of the districts that may come into (our) 
possession and act according to the orders of the 
king. All military officers should go with him 
and he should proceed with them all. In this 
manner (should he work). 

The Senapati should maintain the army and 
make war and expeditions. He should preserve 
the (newly) acquired territories, render an 
account of (the spoils), and act according to the 
orders (of the king). He should make known 
(to the king) what the men of the army had to 
say. All military officers should go with him. 

The Amatya should look after the account of 
income and expenditure of the whole kingdom. 
The Daftardar and the Fadnis should be under 
him. He should carefully estimate the writing 
work (to be done)- He should put his sign (or 
seal) on the letters from the Fadnis s and the 
Chitnis's office. He should (render) military 




ASHTA PRADHAN COUNCIL 5 1 

service in (times of) war. He should look after 
the districts and be guided by (our) orders. 

The Sachiv should carefully look into the royal 
correspondence and make (necessary) correction 
of the contents, whenever a letter is omitted. 
He should serve in war, preserve the (newly) 
annexed districts, and behave according to (our) 
orders. On royal letters (and official documents) 
he should put his seal as a sign of his approval. 

The Pandit Rao should have jurisdiction over 
all religious questions. He should punish (all 
offences) after judging what is right and what 
is wrong. He should put his sign of approval 
on all papers relating to custom, conduct and 
penance. He should receive good scholars of 
reputation He should perform, when occasion 
arises, charity and shanti (performances to 
appease offended deities) and celebrate other 
religious performances." 

The Navadhish should have jurisdiction 
over all suits in the kingdom and try them 



•• The lute JlMlk* Teleng, rattiniiifletl the duttee "f the FandU 
I Un In the following manlier ? — “It Uiat the Pandit. lUe’e tlntioa 

ere to eierdeo ell the eccleaUatfcal powere of the Scale, and to order 
pmiiahmant to be inflicted after in veaMgntiug into what U and la nor 
in accordance with the rc!igio« law. He U to receive learned perrone 
on bfthalf of ihe State, end eoanreraign all document! that may he 
iaanod from the Sovereign rotating to Achara, ryatahara, and 
rAiffo, (hat ie to any, rule# of coednot, civil aad criminal law, nnd 
pf*naiK*t'e, tba three department* of Ibe JMnrw e*t*h*i nr. He is aleo to 
took lifter tli«; pci foraaacecf 9ha*tii nnd other cemnomja, and the 
dietribntion of the royal bounty.** UiQidh R. M. P-, p. HH. 




52 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 

righteously after finding out what is right and 
what is wrong On the judgment paper, he 
should put his sign of approval. 

The Mantri should carefully conduct the 
political and diplomatic affairs of the kingdom. 
The invitation and the intelligence departments 
are under him He should look after the districts 
and serve in war. He should-' put his sign of 
approval on official documents. 

The Sumanta should have the charge of foreign 
affairs. He should receive and entertain ambas- 
sadors from other kingdoms when they come 
He should serve in war and put his sign of ap- 
proval on state documents and letters." 

Besides the duties enumerated above, three 
of the eight pradhans were in charge of exten- 
sive provinces. * When they were away from the 
metropolis, their agents resided at the court. 
Sabhasad says that this apparently clumsy 
arrangement was made in response to the 
demand for good government. "The kingdom 
was extended on four sides. How to carry on 
the governance of the kingdom ? Then in 
Moro Pant Peshwa's charge were placed the 
country from Kalyan and Bhivandi, including 
Kolawan up to Salheri, the country above the 
Ghats and the Konkan Lohagad and Junnar 

•• Aoo«ji Datto. for initaroa. w la a Porto gar «e letter u 

?u£>*d»x-mor or GomrDor GmaiaI of Eookao |Rel« Yloinbcn, ▼«!. I 
fol *.). 




ASHTA PRADHAN COUNCIL 53 

with the twelve Mawals from the pass of Haralya 
(were placed) under the Peshwa. The Konkan 
from Chau) to Kopal, including Dabhol, Rajapur, 
Kudal, Bande, and Phond, was placed under 
Annaji Datto. The VVarghat (country above the 
ghats) from Wai to Kopal on the Tungabhadra 
(was) the province placed under Dattaji Pant 
Waknis. Dattaji Pant was stationed at Panhala. 
In this manner was the kingdom placed 
under three Sarkarkuns Besides these, a few 
(five to seven) Brahman Subhedars were station- 
ed in the Mughal provinces. They were kepi 
under the orders of the Peshwa. The Sarkar- 
kuns were to enquire into the needs and welfare 
of the forts and strongholds. But what Killedar 
and Karkuns were .to be appointed, the Raja 
himself should appoint after personal scrutiny. 
If the Sarkarkuns found any serviceable soldier, 
they should enlist him in excess of the fixed 
number of the quota (tainat). The agents of the 
Sarkarkuns should remain with the Raja. The 
Sarkarkuns should come to see the Raja (once) 
every year with the accounts and the revenue 
of their provinces.”” When Shivaji made this 
division of his territories and placed them under 
three of his principal ministers, we do not know, 
for Sabhasad does not give any date But that 
the pradhans had still some districts under their 



M pp. 77-78. Son. Birarhhatnpati. pp. 108-107. 




54 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OPTHB MARATHAf 

charge and had to leave their agents or mutaliks 
at court during their absence in their respective 
provinces or on a distant expedition, even after 
the coronation and the reorganisation of the 
council, can be proved by the following entry in 
the memorandum already quoted. 14 The darakh- 
dars appointed for (the management of) districts 
and market cities placed under the eight pradhans, 
and to assist them when on a military expedition, 
should all work in the name of the Huzur and 
carry on their correspondence in the same manner 
(as the pradhans) when they would go on an 
expedition ; the mutaliks appointed for them 
should continue all their work. They should 
stay at the court." 

Before we lake leave of the eight pradhans 
it should be noted here that they could not 
select their own subordinates These were in- 
variably appointed, as in the Peshwa period, by 
the supreme head of the state Even the muta- 
liks, who were apparently expected to act on 
behalf and in the interests of an absent minister, 
were not appointed by him, but by the king. 
We do not know whether on such occasions 
the approval of the officer affected was sought or 
not. This practice was evidently borrowed 

Pane. P. Y. U. p. SAM. The Poru«u«w» letter, Altcbd? m eB . 
tinned in i previous note also prove# flint the iUcbtT the tiffice 
Governor ftrntrnl of Rrwkan In Jenunrr, IS7A w'jeo (be lettor wet 

written- 




ASHTA PRADHAN COUNCIL 



55 

from the Muhammadans. The Muhammadan 
rulers of Delhi required the provincial governors 
and generals on active service to leave 
their agents or wakils at the imperial court 
during their absence on duty. These agents 
acted in the same manner as the mutaliks of 
Shivaji's pradhans, but they generally considered 
it their first duty to safeguard the interests of 
their immediate masters 

The number of councillors was by no means 
fixed. From Sabhasad's list already quoted, 
it appears that there were nine of them at 
the time of Shivaji's coronation as the Amatya's 
office was jointly held by two brothers. Naro 
and Ramchandra. Sambhaji dismissed, decapi- 
tated and imprisoned many of his father's old 
servants. Sambhaji had a council in name only, 
he ruled as he liked, and did not care to consult 
any one except his notorious favourite Kavi 
Kalush or Kavji, a Kanojia Brahman. He has 
been styled as Chhandogyamatya in contemporary 
papers The Pandit Rao in Shivaj’s time 
was entitled to the additional designation of 
Chhandogyamatya. It has been suggested 
that Kavi Kalush was not Sambhaji's Pandit 
Rao.“ Kalush enjoyed so much influence and 

*• Bhtrnt ftikaa 8nr#hodhnk ManitiU — V*r*bik Itlvr.tl* (IK3?i, 
HI. 13. 

• ft Thu A* htA Fi-ttihufi Council vcrtutulT not a cab Dec »• a 
detAil-d examination of it* constitution tin the text) show#. Prr.f. 
&**fc*«\ bowerer. aecm* to hold a diffeieot vi#w whoa ho writ#* 




56 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 

so much power that he was for all practical 
purposes the prime minister of Sambhaji. 
When the Rajmanda) was revived under 
Rajaram, a new member was added, who super- 
seded all others both in status and in pay 
Pralhad Niraji was appointed Pratinidhi- or 
the king’s vicegerent at Jinji during the strug- 
gle for national existence. 4 ® Henceforth the 
Pratinidhi always held the first seat in the 
council, until the rise of the Peshwas revolu- 
tionised the constitution of the Maratha empire. 

6. Secretaries ; 

Outside the council but in no way inferior to 
the eight ministers was the Chitnis or Secretary. 
Just below the pradhans had stood Bal Prabhu 
Chitnis, and Nil Prabhu Parasnis, ** at the time 
of Shivaji's coronation. The Private Secretary 
of an autocratic king naturally enjoys great 
influence and is a power behind the throne. Balaji 

" Pralliail Niraji, on whom tho high till* of Rogont < I*ra« iniUh i > 
ccmferrrd and who thus •rood Mlrfio and abort Ikt cabinat 
of right mlninten (A»bU Pradhan)*' 'Hitfory of Aarnngiib. Vol 
V, p. 26). Too opinion of »n di.iiagniahad ■» aobolnr e*rtoir!y dnooi <r*o 
non than n paaalog notico, bat wo h«T«* boon «uM«d tho tub 
of refuting Mm, u* ho ooeait to hn*o roooDiidrred Uie qaoition nod 
chmr.goil hi* whon ho writ** nt nnather plnoo. “ To provide pool, 
for nil bio mini tnnunntinl oncmolt, thn normnl reonca of al«ht 
aiintMert w». expauded by uddiay two men. Tb» Uakmmat Paooh 

n il th* Pratinidhi.'’ (Hmtury of Aarang.ib, Vol V. p. 196), Thai 
ho admit* that it wu a council nod tho number of oou&eillori ww 
by no mrnni rigidly fixed 

•“Habbaond, p. 84; Cbitaia. p. 152. 8«n, BiuuchhuuapuU, p 11?. 




ASHTA PRADHAX COUNCIL 



57 



Avji, Shivaji's chitnis was a man of exceptional 
ability Not only did he perform the ordinary 
duties of his office, but he had been further 
entrusted with the exceedingly delicate task of 
taking down the behests of the great goddess 
BhaVani communicated through Shivaji's mouth.*' 
It is said that Shivaji had actually offered him 
a seat in the council, but the modesty of the 
great Prabhu statesman stood in his way.® The 
duties of his office are thus enumerated by 
Malhar Ram Rao Chitnis. “The Chitnis Patra- 
lekhak will write all royal letters and diplomatic 
correspondence. Divining what is in the king's 
heart he should at once cleverly put it into 
writing discussing the various aspects of the case. 
He should write in such a manner that what is 
generally accomplished by war and great exertion, 
«hould be achieved by means of letters only. 
He should write answers to the letters that 
may come.’’** In the memorandum published 
by Rao Bahadur Sane we come across the 
following entry under Chitnis : “He should write 
all official letters and papers of the State. He 
should write answers to diplomatic letters. 

' SiibhuMkd, Chirm*. Cb*t/niiupai mui nil «ld ehrt*ifcU*rt u?ll n* that 
ivhtMiever Shivaji hmi to fact uny aieaprioouJ uiibralty, tbo goddoM 
fthnrnni umhI to t*ko pnoecrioti of Him tori) and toll him wli*r 
than Id do At tho king lay no Pont cion* aU th«» Umo, tbo of 

tta d«lty wm taken do^o by BaUji Avji. Mlto Rtoory t.f tku 
Mamba Feoplr? by Kincaid and Parnante. 

Obitni*. p. 170. ° Chitaia. p 16*. 

8 




58 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 

Sanads, deeds of grant and other orders to be 
issued (to the officers in the districts) should be 
written according to the regulations framed 
for the Fadnis’s papers. On hand notes and 
letters of special importance there should be a 
seal or the king's signature only, and no seal 
of the other officers. The Chitnis alone should 
put his sign."” Such were the duties that the 
Chitnis had to perform. 

Although in the above regulations the Chitnis 
is required to write all correspondence and 
draw up all state documents, in practice he was 
to a considerable extent relieved by others. 
Chitragupta tells us that the Fadnis alone and 
no other official could issue deeds of royal grant. 
All letters to the provincial and district officers 
were written by the Chitnis, while answers to 
the letters from commanders of forts had to 
be written by an officer called Gadnis. Letters 
to foreign courts were sent from the Dabir's 
office, and the Parasnis had to carry on all 
correspondence with the Emperor of Delhi, his 
wajir and Muhammadan potentates . 44 

Chitragupta was not a contemporary of 
Shivaji. Mr. V. K. Raj wade has described 
his work as a mere elaboration of Sabhasad's 
chronicle. We do not get a complete list of 
the Chitnis’s official duties in Chitragupta. This 

•• Sane, P. T. B, p. 858. 

•• Cbitrapupt* Bukhar (In the Kavyetiboa Sanijraha), pp 104-106 




ASHTA PRADHAN COUNCIL 59 

want. - * however, has fortunately been removed 
by a jabta of the first year of the coronation 
era. In that document the Fadnis also has been 
mentioned with the Chitnis in their official 
relation. A subordinate secretariat officer of 
no gVeat importance in Shivaji's time, the Fadnis 
rose to great power and authority during the 
Pcshwa regime. -The Potnis was responsible 
for the account of income and expenditure 
of the metropolitan treasury, while the Potdar 
was only an assay officer. The eight pradhans 
had under them, besides their staff, the officers 
in charge of the eighteen karkhattas and twelve 
mahais. What precisely their duties were we do 
not know. The eighteen karkhattas and the 
twelve mahais were jus follows 

The Eighteen Karkhanas :** 

1. Khajina ... Cash 

2. Jawahirkhana .. Jew r el store 

3. Ambar Khana ... Granary 

4. Sharbat Khana ... Medicines 

5. Toph Khana ... Artillery 

6. Daftar Khana ... Record Department 

414 Far tho jabta Appendix. 

4i Tli* Ktrkh mu* are referred to in tlio 

Bfllhirr (p. RO) but tba numtfl ffiren by Rao Balo-lur $*i«u in ill* 
footnote are iirniewhit diflTwrwnt. 

• r It abonld bo noted that Chi totV* rti*i*ion of lh**e d^pnrt monf • 
•h 110 c **>*«•! 3y similar j for inucance /.mclar Khana it phicvd by 
bfm Under the handing mnh*t, For hi* liat OhiUii*. pp 7* r »-7d aad 
A|ipn»irti* B 




60 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 



... Public treasury contain- 
ing all sorts of things.* 5 
... Corn Depot, according 
to Molesworth, Ar- 
moury, according to 
R. V. Kosh. 

... Kitchen 

... Camois and their 
trappings. 

... Band 
... Gymnasium'* 

... Elephant shades, etc 
... Carpets, tents and 
accessories. 

. Drink 

... Game, aviary, chase and 
allied materials. 

•• Jam da/ Khana Vmamkm or royal wardrobe according 

to tho Raj Ftrattihar K&K P- 

Prol Sarknr Utl^nkha n* fin whool ( Mughal Ad. 

mlni*tr*Uou, 2nd edition, p 1 0*). tod odds tint in Pirn*. BHab's 
limn it waa called I Hare, hower er, relit*d on the Raj 

Pptnahiir JTcmA. Raghnnatli Pandit, the Lexicographer. had a find- 
hand knowledge of theee Karkkmw and Ke translated •nfimihan* 
aa mrnalltuhaU (p. 13) *nd the word is mentioned under I ha heaiiuur 
gtatfre Virg a A. Th* Mamthi historian, referred fc» by Prof, fiarkoi. 
la ihorwfora parfaetly Hghl whan be calls ll a wrs#tllnf echr.id The 
MarsUiaa did eoa Mindly copy tho ki-lim in-t ilotirnis, through KHvuii 
wm quH« willing to txirrow good institutions from nil hi# ticifphlHHsri 
For inaVtiioo Shiraji’a daru lth.inu had no Muhammadan prutocypv 
(Sarkar, Mughn! Adrainiaimtson. p 193) bat the word is a liberal 
translation of tha Portugueao word ca an do .r/bori, and 8bimjl 
knnw that bo wa a not bringing a new thing into e list* non when in 
addition to TopkKnna bo dtcidsd to ham a 'iamkhunn mm wall 



7. Jamdar Khana 

8 . Jirat Khana 



9. Mutbak Khana 

10. Ushtar Khana 

11. Nagar Khana 

12. Talim Khana 

13. Pil Khana 

14. Faras Khana 

15. Abdar Khana 

16. Shikar Khana 




ASHTA PRADHAX i'OCNUI. 



6 



•7- 


Darn Khana 


Magazine 


1 8. 


Shahat Khana 


.. Conservancy 
ment. 




/he Tvebe 


Mahals 


l. 


Potc 


Treasury 


2. 


Saudagir 


Merchandise 


3- 


Palkhi 


Palanquins 


4 


Kothi 


.. Warehouse a 
granaries. 


5* 


Imarat 


Building 


6. 


Bahili 


.. Chariots 


7- 


Pagn 


Stables 


8. 


Seri 


.. Comforts 


9 


Daruni 


The Zenana 


to. 


Thatti 


Cowsheds 


1 1. 


Tanksal 


.. Mints 


12. 


Sabina 


. Guards” 



Depart- 



It is clear from the name of the depart- 
ments that most of these officers were concerned 
more with the king's household than with any 
work of imperial or public interest A few of 
them, on the other hand, like those in charge of 
the artillery, the mint, and the public treasury, 
fall under a different category Shivaji's division 
of his government and household affairs into 
eighteen karkhanas and twelve mahals was, 
therefore, not a scientific one. But we cannot 



• ♦ 



Pnbhftstid. pp. 




62 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 



expebt from a man surrounded on all sides by 
enemies, and ever engaged in a war of defence 
as well as of conquest, a scientific division of 
departments on modem lines. He had evidently 
copied from the existing system and found little 
leisure in his eventful career to improve 
upon it. 

In his departmental duties each of the eight 
pradhans was assisted by a staff of eight clerks. 
They were : 

1. The Dewan. 

2. The Mazumdar or Auditor and Accountant. 

3. The Fadnis or Deputy Auditor. 

4. The Sabnis or the Daftardar. 

5. The Karkhanis or Commissary. 

6. The Chitnis or Correspondence Clerk. 

7 . The Jamdar or Treasurer. 

8. The Potnis or Cash-Keeper. 11 

7 . The King : 

The king formed the great pivot on which 
rested this stupendous structure. His was the 
hand that worked this gigantic but by no means 
easy machine. Not only the officers in charge 
of the eighteen karkhanas and the twelve 
rnahals, not only secretariat officers as the 
Fadnis, Sabnis and Potnis, but also their official 
superiors, the eight pradhans and the Chitnis, 
formed a vast array of clerks and military 



“ Ur*ot DoS. V«1 1, p Ifti 





Sambhaji 



ASHTA PRADHAN COUNCIL 63 

commanders to carry out the orders of the Iting 
and to execute his great designs. They were but 
so many machines, not inanimate it is true, 
not unconscious of the great part they were 
playing, but at the same time hardly having 
any independent existence. Even the Pandit 
Rao, the officer in charge of the ecclesiastical 
branch of the administration, whose Brahman 
birth and learning might have given him some 
advantage over his non- Brahman master, could 
hardly take any step without the cognisance and 
sanction of the king. Even Kalush, the all- 
powerful minister of Sambhaji, deemed it 
necessary to consult the king’s pleasure before 
he could authorise the re-admission of a repentant 
renegade into his former caste after the necessary 
penance." Everything depended on the personal 
ability and qualities of the sovereign. There was 
nothing to check him except his own good sense 
and of course the constant fear of a formidable 
Muhammadan invasion. It was for this reason 
alone that Sambhaji found it so easy to subvert 
his father's system, the day after his accession 
to the throne. It is this very reason -.Igain that 
impelled Rajaram, while sorely pressed by the 
victorious imperial army, to revive some of the 
old institutions his father had found so useful 

•* RftJwaiU, St. I.Sl, VoI. VIII, p. <W 

Pot a further treatment of subject, th* rt+dtr i« referred to 
Book II 




64 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF I'H E MARATHAS 

The system required a strong and good ruler. 
After Shahu, there was none among Shivaji's 
descendants who possessed the requisite qualities, 
and that is why the Peshwas found it so easy to 
do away with the central government The eight 
pradhans still continued, but the hereditary 
councillors found themselves in an anomalous 
situation. They enjoyed great fiefs, but were 
never in practice called upon to perform their 
civil duties. The Peshwa, in theory their equal, 
became in reality their superior. The king, their 
master, was a state prisoner. The Peshwa's 
Fadnis, originally an officer of no importance, 
gradually rose to very great power, and the 
central government was transferred from Satara 
to Poona. But through all these changes and 
revolutions, both bloody and bloodless, the village 
communities survived unaffected, and the Pesh- 
was also found it convenient to continue the 
provincial governments as they existed in Shivaji's 
time. 




APPENDIX A 



A memorandum (enumerating) the writing 
duties of the Chitnis of Kshatriya Kulavatansa 
Shri Raja Shivachhatrapati, dated the first of 
Jeshtha of the year i of the coronation era, 
the Sainbatsar being Ananda by name 

Of the letters and grant deeds to be issued 
when a new inatu is granted to any one: 

Letters to the grantee ^ should be written 
Do to the Mokdams ) by the Fadnis. 
Letters to the Talukdars 
Do to the Subha and 
Manila officers, 
present and future 
Do to the Deshmukh, 
the Deshpande .and 
the Zamindars 
Of the letters to be issued when a village in 
tnokasa, or land as a stipend, is granted to 
any one : 

Letters to the Mokdams 1 should be written 
Do to the Talukdars ) by the Fadnis. 

Do to the Kamavisdars -j should be written 

Do to the Zamindars ) by the Chitnis. 

Excepting the above, all letters of grant to any 



[ should be written 
by the Chitnis. 



9 




66 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 

one should be written by the Chitnis. All 
answers, orders and diplomatic letters should be 
written by the Chitnis. The Chitnis should also 
write reminders or notes about 

1 Saranjams 

2. Sanads relating to lands 

3. Professional rights 

4. Inams 

5. Assignments (Varats). 

The rules about the Chitnis s duties and a 
memorandum about them all, including those 
relating to customs duties : 

All hauls to be issued about lands to villages 
and provinces should be written by the Chitnis. 

The Fadnis should write the kauls or agree- 
ments about the contribution fixed (by the 
proper authorities) to be levied (in a foreign 
country). Of the sanads of new officers, Kamavis, 
etc., those addressed to the officer should be 
written by the Fadnis, those addressed to the 
Zamindars and others should be written by the 
Chitnis. All notes to be issued about Ghasdana 
with notes about Fadfarmas should be written 
by the Chitnis. 

Letters for sending cash advance and presents 
for marriage ceremonies (in the Raja's house) 
should be written by the Chitnis. Of these, if 
the Chitnis has written letters about sanads for 
recovery of the sum advanced from the Mahals, 




ASHTA PRADHAN COUNCIL 67 

0 

the Fadnis should mention in his letters that 
the said sanad has been recorded. If the 
balance of revenue, considered unrecoverable, 
has been realised, letters regarding it should be 
addressed by the Chitnis, and the remittance 
transfer of the shortage should be granted by 
the Fadnis. All notes of remission (with regard 
to the following) should be written by the 
Chitnis : 

1 Land (revenue). 

2. When a remission of the due (balance) is 
granted. 

3 When revenue is (conditionally) remitted 
for failure of crops and the revenue is 
to be realised after inspection 

All letters of (warning) about any right 
to and possession of old inams, watans, and 
varshasans that may be in force in home domi- 
nions and foreign territories, should be written 
by the Chitnis, enumerating the villages and the 
names of the parties (interested). 

When an old watan is confirmed after a due 
enquiry about its (proprietorship), all letters, 
whether addressed to the watandar or Jilhedars 
and Subhedars, should be written by the Chitnis. 
Space should be left for any harki or skerni that 
may have been promised. These gaps should be 
filled up by the Fadnis with his own hands, 
stating the amouni. 




68 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 

If a new watan or inam is granted to any 
one, the letter addressed to the grantee should be 
written by the Fadnis stating the sum (of rupees) 
taken. AH other letters (in this connection) 
should be written by the Chitnis. 

When a Prayashchitta is prescribed, or a man 
is to be (re) admitted into his caste, orders to the 
Joshis and letters to the Upadhres and Brahmans 
or Shudras, or to any body else, should be 
written by the Chitnis. Harki and shela should 
be taken by the government for the Prayash- 
chitta. The Fadnis should make an entry that 
so much has been realised (specifying the sum). 
All letters, if the transaction is to be made 
without any stipulation about money, should be 
the Chitnis’s business , the Fadnis will have 
nothing to do with them. 

If parties after quarrelling with each other, 
come for a decision to the court, all letters 
according to the decision (of the court) about 
the harki to be paid by the winning and gunhegari 
to be paid by the losing party, should be written 
by the Chitnis. The total of harki and gunhe- 
gari should be stated by the Fadnis. 

Letters about contribution, fines, harkis and 
incomes (arising from) adultery cases, should be 
written by the Chitnis 

If an assignment or varai is made in any 
one’s favour and there is any delay in making 
it good, the Chitnis should write reminders, 




ASHTA PRADHAN COUNCIL 69 

• 

(requesting) the officers (concerned) to pay 
the money in accordance with the terms of the 
assignment. If an assignment is made of one 
hundred Rupees and there is a shortage of money 
in the Mahal (concerned), and a fresh assignment 
of fifty Rupees out of the entire sum has to be 
made, it will be done by the Fadnis. If an 
assignment of on® hundred Rupees is once made, 
and if it is returned, and a fresh grant has to be 
made, the document is to be drawn up by the 
Chitnis. If any correction is to be made about 
the sum, (literally if the sum is either more or 
less), the letters will be written by the Fadnis. 

All passports for travelling and permission for 
establishing ware-houses should be written by the 
Chitnis Summons should be written by the 
Chitnis. Memoranda enumerating regulations for 
watani Mahals, ports, and forts, etc., should be 
written by the Chitnis. 

Letters about ammunition and clothes to be 
sent each year to forts, strongholds or military 
outposts, or to be brought to the head quarters 
from those places, should be written by the 
Chitnis. If any objection is to be raised about 
these works, it is to be done by the Fadnis. 

The Chitnis is to open envelopes and read 
(to the king) the letters that may come, and to 
enclose and despatch letters. 

The memorandum of rules for regulating the 
price of things should be drawn up by the Chitnis 




•jo ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 

If officers are sent from the head quarters to 
a village or a warehouse or a Pargana, all letters 
to the District officer should be written by the 
Chitnis. 

All orders of confiscation of property and 
restoration of property to its owner, should oe 
written by the Chitnis. 

Letters for conferring (the command of) forts, 
and strongholds, etc., for setting a boundary, for 
imprisoning or releasing any one, should be 
written by the Chitnis. 

Letters of political intelligence should be 
written by the Chitnis. 

All letters in which royal signature is to 
be inserted, handnotes, and documents with 
seals, should be w'ritten by the Chitnis. All 
letters about the appointment to the command 
of forts and strongholds, grants of saramjam, 
inam, or watans, or communication about any 
assignment accompanied by the customary 
clothes of honour, should be written by the 
Chitnis, as well as letters specifying contribution, 
fine, harki or subscription and nazar (to be 
paid by the addressee), lie should also frame 
a list of these and send it to the Daftar. The 
officers there w ill accordingly make their accounts 
of income and expenditure. Closed letters and 
handnotes should be written by the Chitnis, no 
one but the Chitnis should put his sign in the 
handnotes. 




ASHTA PRADHAX COUNCIL 7 1 

Kauls for settling (new inhabitants in any 
place) and interim kauls or assurance deeds 
should be drawn by the Chilnis. 

Letters for attaching or conferring a house 
or homestead, fuels, or rice lands, should be 
written by the Chitnis. 1 

Besides the duties enumerated above, the 
Chitnis was in charge of the Abdar khana and 
Saraf khana also.^ 



1 3*nads anti Letter* edited bv Muwji aad Panama, pp. 127-1^0- 
* /bid, p. 12ft. 




APPENDIX B 



A List of Karkhanas compiled from the 
Raj Vyavahar Kosh 

Khajina. — Treasury, where the cash is kepi, 
the officer in charge is the Jamdar or the 
Kosharaksh ka (treasurer). The second officer 
is styled as » fs ha pa la or Havaldar. 

POTE. — Treasur) wherefrom payment is made. 
The chief officer is Havaldar. The second 
officer is Jamdar, an accountant and the Potdar 
or assay master were also attached to this 
department. 

JAWAHIRKHANA. — Jewel store; the officer in 
charge, Havaldar. his assistant Jamdar, and a 
jewel expert styled johari were employed by 
this department. 

Jar Khan a — or Gold store, but no officer is 
mentioned, probably it was a sub-department 
of jawahir khana. 

Jamdar Khana. — W ardrobe, chief officer, Haval- 
dar; his assistant Jamdar ; a I'astra Lekhaka 
or clerk for keeping account of the department 
is mentioned. 

Mudbakh Khana.— Kitchen, the Mudbakhi or 
cook and taster, Ruckigraha, are mentioned 
in this connection 




APPENDIX 



73 



ABDAR Khan A — Jalasthana — literally water 

department, not only drinks but intoxicants 
like tobacco and opium on the one hand, and 
musk, otto, essence of flowers and scented 
oils on the other, are mentioned under this 
department. 

SHARAB Khana. — W ine store, the officer in 
charge was the Sharabdar, tambul or betel 
leaf and its accessories are mentioned in this 
connection 

Dawa Khana.— D ispensary 

Shikar Khana.— A viary 

Faras Khana. — T he department of carpets, 
tents etc. The officer in charge was styled 
Havaldar. 

JiRAT Khana.— A rmoury — The chief officer — 
Havaldar, the second officer Havalgir and a 
clerk for keeping accounts of the departments. 
No separate Toph Khana or Daru Khana is 
mentioned ; but in the list of arms and armours, 
given in connection with this department toph 
(artillery) and daru (gun powder) are mentioned 

Tai.im Khana. — G ymnasium. 

Phil Khana. — E lephant stables, Mahavats or 
elephant drivers, elephant trainers and elephant 
keepers are mentioned under this department. 

Paga. — S tables. 

Bah I LI. — Chariots, it is styled a mahal. 

Shutarkhana. — C amel stables. 

Alam Khana. — B and and music. 

10 




74 administrative system of thf. marathas 

Am BAR K II ana. — Grannarv. This department 

is mentioned under durgavargah or forts 
and herein probably lies the distinction between 
Kotin and Am bar K/uifta. 

IMARATI. — Buildings — this department is also 
mentioned under the forts. 

DaPTAR Khana. — S ecretariat or records depart- 
ment. The chief officer is called Daftardar. 
Kothi. — G rannary. This is styled a mahal and 
comes under Janpadavargah or the provinces 
As rent was paid in kind, it was necessary 
for the revenue collectors in the provinces to 
have Kothis or store houses for grains. The 
officer in charge of Kothi is styled Havaldar. 
He was assisted by the accountant (Dhanya- 
lekhaka) and another subordinate styled 
Kothival who probably measured grains. 

Chitnis's list of Mahals and Karkhanas : 

i . Mahals 

1. Daruni — Zenana 

2. Pote — Stores 

3. Kothi — Grannary 

4. Paga — Stables 

5. Thati — Cowsheds 

6. Sheribag — Comforts 

7. Tankshala — Mint 

8. Palanquins etc. 

9. Imarat — Buildings 

10. Saudagiri — Merchandise 




APPENDIX 



75 



it. Chaubina — Guards 

12. Jamdarkhana — Wardrobe 

The Karkhanas. 

1. Pil khana — Elephant stables 

2. Am bar khana — Grannary 

3. Nagar khana — Band 

4. Toph khana — Artillery 

5. Sharbat khana — Medicines 

6. Abdar khana — Drinks 

7. Shutar khana— Camels stables 

8. Karas khana — Tents 

9. Shikar khana — Shields 

10. Talitn khana —Gymnasium 

11. Jawahirkhana — Jewel store 

1 2. Mudbakh khana — Kitchen 

13. Shile khana — Armoury 

14. Sharab khana — Betel leaves etc. 

15. Gadi khana — Conveyance 

16. Jinnas khana — Stores 

1 7. Daftar khana — Secretariat 

18. Nat khana — Music etc. 

Chitnis says that Shivaji had about three 
hundred (300 to 350) elephants, about one thou- 
sand (1000 to 1500) camels, from two to four 
thousand cows and five thousand buffaloes. A 
glance at the lists given above will show that the 
Maratha Karkhanas and Mahals were really 
speaking state departments and establishments 
and not state owned or state controlled factories. 




CHAPTER II 



Revenue and Finance 

Ranade was not the only scholar to point out 
that “ Like the first Napoleon, Shivaji in his time 
was a great organiser, and a builder of civil 
institutions ' 1 Scott-Waring, writing in the first 
decade of the 19th century, observes “ while 
Sevajee carried on his predatory warfare, he was 
not inattentive to the growing interests of his 
state. The lands in the Kokun were secured 
and defended That was not all The lands 
were secured and defended and suitable measures 
were taken for the extension of cultivation and 
improvement of agriculture Jervis tells us that 
according to the popular traditions, Shivaji's 
subjects enjoyed plenty though not peace. “ In 
the midst of all this confusion, warfare, and 
general disloyalty, the state of the revenue and 
population is said to have prospered.”* The 
reason is not hard to find out ; Shivaji introduced 
a flexible system that long survived his dynasty's 
overthrow’, and as Mr. Pringle Kennedy says 

• RMwfc. H. M. F., p. 113. 

s Scott-Waring. IliirtrvrT of th* Maiirotta*, p. Mb. 

• Jem*, p. tt3. 




REVENUE AND FINANCE 



77 



“ The peasant knew what he had to pay and 
he seems to have been able to pay this without 
any great oppression .’ -4 

It is certainly creditable to the great 
Marat ha soldier that his subjects, inspite ol his 
constant wars, should have enjoyed plenty and 
increased in number. But all that Shivaji had 
to do was to follow in the foot-steps of another 
great man It is true that Shivaji cannot claim 
originality. But originality is not an indispens- 
able factor in statesmanship. All that is 
expected of a practical statesman is that he should 
discern the needs of his time and adopt 
suitable measures to meet them. Whether these 
measures are his own or not does not matter. 
Akbar, one of the greatest of Indian rulers, 
frequently revived the long forgotten measures 
of some of his less known predecessors and with 
what effect is known to us all. Shivaji also had 
the keen discernment of a statesman and he 
could appreciate the good points, as he was fully 
aware of the defects of the existing govern- 
ment. He found that Malik Ambar's revenue 
system, with a few slight modifications, would 
suit his country best and he revived it without 
any hesitation.® What Todar Mall did for 
the north, Malik Ambar did for the south. 



• KetUKMly, Uiitory of th«i Great M^huli. VdI. II, p. 12 & 

• Botnbay QuiKter, Volamo 




78 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MaRaTHAS 

The gTeat foreigner, who had served his adopted 
country so well, had to work almost under the 
same circumstances as Shivaji. While defend- 
ing his master's tottering kingdom against the 
Mughal onslaughts, the great Abyssinian had 
to recognise its exhausted resources. He work- 
ed with an open mind and adopted the revenue 
system of his enemies, On the eve of its fall the 
Nizamshahi kingdom enjoyed a set of excellent 
regulations, but there was no one after Malik 
Ambar to work them out. Like Todar Mall he 
divided the arable lands into four separate 
classes according to fertility and ascertained 
their produce, roughly it is true, and fixed the 
assessment once for all. He. however, did not 
want the peasants to pay in kind. While a 
fixed permanent assessment was made, a com- 
mutation or money price was also fixed for ever. 
After fixing a money rent Malik Ambar turned 
his attention to the collecting agency, With 
one stroke of his pen he did away with the inter- 
mediate revenue agency which had been gradually 
assuming the character of a farming system. 
He then made the Patils and other revenue 
officers hereditary, but at the same time made 
them responsible for the full realisation of the 
government dues.* Such in short was Malik 
Ambar's revenue system and as some of 



• Bee Bombay Gasrtteer. P«xiga Volume and Jcnri*. pfi. 




REVENUE AND FINANCE 



79 



Shahaji's jagirs had previously formed part of 
the Nizamshahi dominions, the people there were 
not unfamiliar with it. Nor was there any lack 
of officials who had seen it in its actual work- 
ing. Dadaji Konddev, when he reclaimed the 
waste lands of his master’s jagir, did nothing 
but revive the wise regulations of the great 
Abyssinian. 1 

But Shivaji was no blind imitator. He was, 
if anything, a lover of strict method ; and 
Malik Ambar’s system, in certain respects, lacked 
it. While therefore, accepting its principles, 
Shivaji did not commit himself to all its details. 
Malik Ambar had not carefully surveyed the 
land, and the survey work was fraught with 
many difficulties, more or less seripus. There 
were different standards and units of measure- 
ment and Shivaji had to find out a standard 
unit before he could order a systematic survey* 
Then again accurate measurement was impos- 
sible with a rope. The length of a rope was 
liable to slight variations in different seasons. 
So the measuring rope had to be rejected. Some 
Muhammadan rulers had substituted the rope 



T Bombay 0»xcU«®r,— Poona Volume 

• Jerri, enumerate* th* f«4towinp — Th* 00 dura* or oxbide c i 
land, tlie tumb ut ploaph land. iwcocidlj the ItHuod*® of land, tb* 
th* mnn, th* karika and to forth, thju in land* rnQWrinir * 
moorn, mun, k&rikn and no forth of to *ow them by which 
rife the prodneo wu o«timate(l and th* *ovomro«*ui »har* ftxod, Jorvi*, 
Vf ** 37 . 




8o ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF TH E M A RATH AS 



by the ' tenab ' or measuring chain. But Shivaji 
replaced it by a kathi or a measuring rod. 8 The 
kathi was to be five cubits and five fists (muthis) 
in length. The length of the regulation rod 
was fixed in tasus also. Twenty rods square 
made a big ha, and one hundred and twenty 
bighas a chavar. The unit of measurement 
being thus fixed, Shivaji ordered a survey settle- 
ment and the work of surveying the Konkan 
was 18 entrusted to no less able an officer than 
the celebrated Annaji Datto, Shivaji’s Sachiv. 

2. Annaji s Survey : 

It can be safely asserted that the survey 
work was done with the utmost care. Annaji 
Datto refused to rely on irresponsible govern- 
ment officials, whose lack of local knowledge 
and necessary energy disqualified them for 
the work. He issued a circular letter to village 
officers urging them to undertake this 
important work with the co-operation of some 
of their co-villagers, whose interests were 

• Horn Babhaeod. p. 32. Bon, Bit achhatrnpaii, p. 

10 Whether n map wa* aleo prepared wo do not know. Everything 
depend* on the interpretation of dhurnny jhad (Bnhhaead. p. 32). Thn 
word 2e aainteiiigiWe end Rno Bhahednr Sane give* rfnranp jod um mi 
aHeraotir* rending If we accept this eecond reading the sentence iuhv 
mean that a biookxtr mup woe drawn. But in three days prpor wm ei> 
•aaroe that it does not teem praibto. I bavw no knowledge nf any map 
or chart of Shivaji*! time coming down to no. Far a aeaeible «ugg«a(icii 
about the meaning of the peaatgc ere Virtifu i rhvtnrittar, p. 09 (1931). 




RBVENUK AND FINANCE 



8 1 



directly invoked. A copy of this old circular" 
letter has come down to us, and has been 
deciphered and published by Mr. V. K. Raj wade. 
As this is the only document that tells us how 
the bighaoni survey of the Konkan was conduc- 
ted by Annaji, it is a pity that this important 
paper has not escaped mutilation, and the sad 
ravages of time have made it impossible for Mr. 
Rajwade to decipher all the words. Many gaps 
have yet to be filled up mainly by conjecture. 
But it appears from what has been read, that 
the estimate of these village officers was not 
accepted without a proper examination. Annaji 
Datto himself revised their work. In every 
district, he visited at least one village of each 
description, estimated its yield, and then com- 
pared his own figure with that submitted by the 
village officers. It was the interest of these 
villagers not to over-estimate the possible 
revenue ; consequently, the king alone was the 
only losing party if any error in these estimates 
remained undetected. This circular letter was 
issued in 1678, only two years before Shivaji's 
death. It is, therefore, clear that this survey 
settlement could not be finished in his life time 

' ' V. K. Rajwtidp. M. I B. Vol. XV, pp SRH-STn P..r »n Krfrli.l. 
Owmlatkm of Ihi- l*U*r *ee Appeoilii, C. pp. 110 122 

Itmt; be ontod in thU ronnortion 'hat Annaji »»• by '•« 
the only c.Bcr* charged witk tUe work ot Mirrry ncttlr. ■*«.*. Mo«.Onn 
» Bind* n r iimitor work brin« with r.RMtl lo 8hln»l by Mnn» 

l ioglo, t».„ PbrHwb. Sm- R»jwad», M. I. P., Vol. XX. pp. 




82 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF TUB WARATHA S 



and had, in all probability, commenced late in 
his reign. 

j. Cesses and A incabs : 

In those days people had to make numerous 
contributions to the state, to tfie village commu- 
nities, and even to those criminal tribes whose 
protection or neutrality the commercial and 
agricultural classes considered necessary to 
purchase. An ordinary peasant, for instance, 
had to pay his share of the land revenue to the 
state, at the harvest time he had to give a 
certain measure of grains to the village officers 
including the artisans, and when he brought the 
green vegetables of his garden for sale at the 
market place, the Patil and the Kulkarni (the 
village headman and the village scribe) took a 
handful in pursuance of a very old practice To 
appreciate properly the revenue reforms of 
Shivaji, it is essential to have a clear idea of 
the taxes and cesses that a peasant or an artisan 
had to pay. Klphinstone has given us a list of 
taxes and cesses that prevailed in the Peshwa 
period but unfortunately no such list is available 
for the preceding period This deficiency can 
however be made up by a careful scrutiny of the 
Sanads or grant deeds published in Mr. V. K. 
Rajwade’s Marathyanchya Itihasancki Sadhanen, 
Mawji and Parasnis's Sanads and Letters and the 




REVENUE AND FINANCE 



83 



Transactions of the Bharat Itihas Sanshodhak 
Mandal of Poona. These papers mention no 
less than fifty taxes, cesses and abwabs (extra 
duties), a formidable list indeed. But it should 
be remembered that some of these taxes were 
levied probably once in a life time, others were 
collected on special occasions, while some of 
them were undoubtedly confined to a particular 
locality. About their nature and incidence the 
Sanads hardly enlighten us. They simply 
enumerate all customary cesses, taxes and obli- 
gations from which the grantee is exempted. It 
is clear that all the taxes mentioned below were 
not exacted by the state, nor did they all prevail 
in the same revenue area and never was the 
same man in any locality subjected to all the 
taxes, cesses and other financial obligations of his 
native Pargana. 

1. Beth Begart — Forced labour. 

2. Farmasi — “ Fruit, vegetables, etc., 

furnished on occasions to Rajas and 
public officers, on the authority of 
their order upon the villages ; any 
petty article or trifling work exacted 
from the ryots by Government or a 
public officer. ' — Molesworth. 1 * 



11 Tliii tax ift m«miM>oed in * document dated 1675. Bee M. 1.8, 
Vol. XV, p. 173 It therefor# teems pruUbl# that all then ce«»e» 
war* tux *od the etui# duniiiidu mtftMiUdnteri a* Jorvii uwru 




84 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 

“ An occasional contribution in kind ; 
often paid in commutation of service." 
Elphinstone. 

3. Relekati — A tax exacted on the com 

mencein**nt of the harvest. (Balkati, 
cutting ears of corn) Thomas, Revenue 
Resources of the Moghul Empire, p. 19. 

4. Pniposi — Cannot he positively identified ; 

probably a tax paid in kind by the shoe- 
makers. The shoe- makers claimed the 
special right of paying their dues in kind. u 

5. Xfejbani — literally dinner tax. 14 

6. Mohimpnti — Expedition ces* ; a similar 

tax i« mentioned by Kautilva, but we 
need not go to such a remote age. a tax 
like this was levied by the Portuguese 
in their Indian Estate. 

7. Knrchapati — Cannot be identified. 

8. Telpnti — Oil ces' ; perhaps levied for 

illumination on festive occasions. 

9. Tup — A tax in kind levied perhaps on 

manufacturers of ghi. 

10. Fuski — A toll levied on green vegetable- 

sellers. 

1 1. Sudilonr — A comprehensive term for any 

contingent charge. 



•* FUjwa.l', M. I. S. Vol. XX. p 12. 

*• It u not, hoover, clear who paid the com fend on win! 



Oceanian 




REVENUE AND FINANCE 



85 



12. Tutfati — Literally means a tax to cover 

losses. It might be similar to ' Kasar ' 
charged from Khots in Janjira to cover 
the loss in any deficiency of measure- 
ment. Prof. Pissurlencar thinks that 
it was similar to but pattt of Portuguese 
India. 

13. Idsuhratb — Jervis thinks it was a tax in 

kind paid by oilmen for illumination 
on the occasion of Id. 

14 Toranbheti — Arches for receiving dis- 

tinguished guests. 

15. Ut — A cess levied on transport camels. 

16. A tube A tax levied on the produce ol 

mango trees. 

17. Karujuti — Cannot be identified. Has 

it any relation to Karus, artisans ? 

18. He jib — Probably means the perquisites 

of an insignificant village officer of the 
same name. Hejib is mentioned in an old 
document published in the Itihas Sun- 
grafta , Aittkasik Chari tren, pp. 22-23. 

19. I'athevari — The meaning is uncertain ; is 

it Patwari, a tax levied for village officers? 

20. Ashvajakati — A duty on sale of horse. 

This tax is mentioned by many Portu- 
guese authors including Barros. 

21. Setsara — A tax on arahle land. 




86 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 



22 Barhad Taka ' i — Probably similar to 
bharad tax of Portuguese India 
23. Set Bail — A duty on transport cattle. 

24 Jangampati A jangatn is a lingayat. A 
lax on the Jangams or Saiva lingayats ; 
sec Book III. 

25. Peshkasi — Same as the Pa'shkush of 

the Mughal period. 

26. Patisike Hu may mi — Sike means a seal. 

This tax must be analogous to Bat- 
chhapai of the Peshwa periled 

27. Kar-i-Hu may uni — A tax levied for cele- 

brating the royal birth Hay 

28. Thanebhet — In Portuguese India the 

villagers had to feed small bands of 
sepoys visiting the locality Probably 
a similar obligation existed in some 
parts of Shivaji’s kingdom. 

29 Dasrapati — Is it a cess levied on the 

occasion of Dasra ? Wc know that 
under the Peshwa regime the Patil 
received some presents in kind, eg., a 
goat on the Dasra day. Sleeman 
noticed a somewhat similar practice in 
Central India. “ In the first place, 
they (Thanadars) levy a fee of one 
rupee from every village at the festival 

'• Taka litorolly Mittu* Hit a*v:r*ff*u* of fthiturai pkw - 

ilfto an i»KXT*i*5itu of four «n anna - Mol** worth . B*rh*d^hur — 
The houi* in a weiMinjr i a celebrated, Molmvrortb. Ia it it 

IHS vjt com oil no; tU1« mid Miittog«Kja tr Lajr«tj |iuti 5 




REVENUE AND FINANCE 



87 



of the Holi in February, another at 
that of the Dasehra in October," 
Hambies and Recollections , Vol. II, 
p. 217. The Ramoshi, Sarnaik also 
was entitled to the present of a goat 
from the neighbouring villages on the 
Dasra day. Sec Mackintosh, Origin 
and present condition of the Tribe of 
Ramoossies, p. 58. 

30. Husur Bhet 

3 1 . Halpati 

32. Ahisthan 

33. Virahisthan J 

34. Mohatarfa — A tax on shop-keepers. 

Many cesses fall under this general 
heading. 

35. Thaljakati — Custom duties levied on 

goods while in transit through land. 

36. Palbhara — May be a tax on green 

vegetables, 

37. Ulphapati — A religious cess. 

38. BakridT — Cannot be identified 

39. Sardesmukhpati — Same as Sardcshmukhir 

*• EHfAu HtexulW moans unhooked grata gW*n In Alms u> mondicaulf. 
Il Bet) Bit lliarefore probable that tho com wm toned for charlubto 
porpoaca. 

,f May be on* of tho^numoroo* rmiei levied for the expense of 
popular feetirmla, either Hindu or UnbAmmAdan. 



— Cannot be identified. 




88 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OK THE MARATHAS 

40 Mashahira — Same as Rasad of the 
Mughal Rulers. 

41. Gaonkhandi — Cannot be identified. 

4 2. Datti — A tax in grain. 

43. Ttji Bheii — Cannot be identified 

44 Jhadjhadoda — A cess in kind levied on 
the fruits of village trees, generally 
collected at the rate of one per hundred 
mangoes or tamarinds 

45. Bargujar — “ Tax on the fields near 

the city where Paun is cultivated." 
Jenkins, Report 00 the Territories of 
Rajah of Nag pore p 228. 

46. /nampati — An occasional tax imposed in 

times of exigency on Inamdars. 

47. Akhdttldtvani — Cannot be ascertained. 

48. Kar / ran rati — A tax to meet building 

expenses 

49. Yihtr huda — An extra tax on lands 
watered from wells. 

Mention is made of another abwab, Sinhasanfatt 
or coronation tax. levied on the walandars at the 
time of Shivaji's coronation. 1 * Most of these 
taxes do not appear in Elphinstonc's list and 
had been abolished in the interval. 



*• Kaj««l«, H.I.fc Tot XVI.p. 12 




REVENUE AND FINANCE 



«9 



4. Principle of Assessment : 

Annaji Datto had fixed the rent at 33# p c. 
of the gross produce, but Shivaji afterwards 
deipanded a consolidated rent of 40^ p. c. 10 when 
all the taxes and extra cesses had been abolished. w 
Neither tagni nor the istasa principle was un- 
known in his time. " Cattle should be given to 
the new rayats that may come. Grain and 
money for (buying) seeds should be given. 
Grain and money should be given for their 
maintenance and the sum should be realised 
in two or four years according to the means of the 
debtor.”* In this way, says Sabhasad, new 
settlers were encouraged to come and settle in 
Shivaji’s dominions. Rent-free land was granted 
for founding a market town by Shivaji's minister 
Moro Pingle.” It is also certain that though 
extra cesses had been abolished, the customs 
duties were retained. No one could travel with- 
out a passport from a competent authority and 



11 This HtntemRnt i* l»*ed on SibtlMtd B*kKw »nd Major Jerri*'* 
Konkau, baft u I hare already pointed oat in h previous note, aom© 
of theea tinea continued to ba levied till Shivaji'e death atd a few 
certainly e urrired him ; but, M we do Dot know for cortaie. whether 
they were itato dna* or porquiiitee of village officers or cetaes levied by 
villajra coiuaiuoitxm, wa cannot challenge the accuracy of this aaior- 
tion without further investigation. 

Jerv«, p. W. 

* 1 Salhamd, p. 33. Pen, givachbfttrapati, p. 37. 
im Rajwada, II.L8-, Tol. XX, p. 08 



13 




90 ADMINISTRATIVE! SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 



Fryer mentions a customs officer stationed at 
Kalyan* 

We know, from many published documents, 
how much the peasant had to pay for each 
bigha he cultivated, during the Peshwa period. 
No such document of Shivaji s time has come 
down to us. Major Jervis has quoted exact 
figures in his work on the Konkan, but from 
what sources we do not know. It will not, how- 
ever, be improper to quote these figures here, 
and the reader may accept them for what they 
are worth. Says Jervis. —“It is commonly 
believed indeed, that he (Shivaji) measured and 
classified all the lands, and then ascertained 
the amount of their produce from one or two 
villages in each Muhal of the Ouchitgurh. 
Rajpooree. Rygurh. Soowurndroog, tnjunvel. 
Rutnagiri and Veejydroog districts, for three 
successive years, from which data he established 
the rates, half in kind, half at a fixed commuta- 
tion rate differing in each Talooka, to be paid 
by the beegah of each sort of land The classifi- 
cation of the rice lands mult or dhtmf, under 
12 heads; the four first still retaining their 
former well known distinctions. Uvui, first and 



" *• Till oa Uio right, within a mile nr mom of Unlltun limy yield 
}H>MflMiioo to tbn neighbouring Seim Oi % »i which City (the Koj tkia 
way Into that Hebei's Country) Wind an«l tldu favouring wi landed 
it aboat nlo« in tbo morning, nod wrr** civilly treated by tlir CuaUimer 
in bin CMfrfi till the Haraldar could bu acquainted of my arrival/” 
Fryer, p. 1SJ 




REVENI H AND I INANCF. 



9 ' 



best sort ; Doom or Dooyoom second sort ; Seem 
third sort ; Charoom or Char seem fourth sort. 
The first was assessed at 1 2 1 muns ; the second 

at 10, the third at 8, the fourth at 6 $ muns 

The remaining eight descriptions of land went 
by' the following names, discriminating their 
respective qualities, and were assessed at the 
annexed rates. 1 st, Raupal, on which small 
stunted brush wood grows ; 2nd, Kharwut, lands 
in the neighbourhood of the sea or rivers, some- 
times called salt bhatty lands ; 3rd Bawul, rocky 
soil ; 4th Khuree, stony soil ; 5th Kuriyet or 
Toorwut, lands cultivated with pulse hemp, etc. 
13 (sic) Manut, lands with the roots of large 
trees still uncleared, as near Indapur and 



Gorcgaon. 




Raupal 


... 8 maunds per beegah. 


Kharwut 


••• M II If 


Bawul 


••• ^4 i» 11 1* 


Khuree 


— M .• • • M 


Kureyat Irst sort 


If »| M 


Ruho 


5 •• •• M 


Toorwut or ) 




Katahnee ' 


0 »i ii ti 


Manut 


5 •• H H 


Subsequently the 


wretched cultivators have 


planted small spots on 


the most rocky eminences. 



wherever a little water lodged, and the least 
portion of soil favoured the growth of rice ; this 




92 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MAR ATHAS 

is frequent about Unjunvel and Rutnagiri 
Talookas, and have been classed under two heads, 
both called sirwut, the former assessed at 3$ 
maunds, the latter the half of that ; the produce 
of the first kind, would be about 16 bushels per 
beegah .** 

Special rates were fixed for other harvests. 
Vajat jamin or uncultivable waste lands were 
generally excluded when a village was assessed 11 
But as cultivation spread, there was a greater 
demand for arable plots, and waste lands of all 
sorts were gradually brought under the plough. 
At first they were exempt from assessment, 
but ultimately these were also taxed at a 
moderate scale. Jervis says that these tearkus 
or dongur lands were assessed by the hal, 
nangar or plough and not by the bigha. 
In some instances six or seven bighas of 
such lands were counted as one for revenue 
purposes. The rent of such lands varied not 
only with their fertility but also with the nature 
of the crops raised. Major Jervis gives us the 
following scale : 

Nachni was assessed at 3$ maunds per 
nangar in superior soil and 3 maunds in 
inferior soil. 

Wari at 3 maunds and 2^ maunds. 

Harik at 3 maunds. 



*• Fnr thoio dgnrc* «w J*m«. pp. tH-97. 

Bajir**#, M I. 8., Yol. XX.. p. fH 




REVENUE AND FINANCE 



93 



Other kinds of inferior produce at 1} maunds. 

Besides the principal harvest the peasants 
often raised a second crop on the first class 
lands. These second crops were also assessed at 
a special rate according to their nature and 
deteriorating effect on the land. Jervis gives 
the following figures : 

Turmeric — Fivo maunds per bigha, each 
bigha being } actual measurement. 

Hemp— Five maunds per bigha. each bigha 
being J actual measurement. 

Sugarcane cultivation assessed from 6} 
maunds to 3$ of raw sugar per bigha.” 

Special consideration was made by the 
Peshwa government for such costly plantations 
as those of sugarcane, cocoanut and betelnut. 
The planter had to wait long for any profit and 
so did the government. This was the common 
practice in the Deccan during the Peshwa regime, 
and I believe the principle existed also in 
Shivaji's time 



5. Revenue Divisions ami Revenue Officers : 

The provinces under Shivaji's rule were styled 
Swarajya to distinguish them from Mughlai or 
provinces under other (generally Muhammadan) 
rulers. The Swarajya was, for revenue purposes, 



11 j>p. 94 -97 




94 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTRM OF THR MARVTHAS 



divided into a number of Prants consisting of two 
or more Districts. There were in all 16 provinces 
under Shivaji's government according to Rinade” 
They were : 



1. Maval. 

2. Wai. 

3. Satara. 

4. Karad. 

5. Panhala. 

6. South Konkan 

7. Thana. 

8. Trimbak. 

9. Baglan. 

10. Wanagad. 

11. Bcdnorc. 

1 2. Kolhar 

13. Shrirangapatan. 

14. Karnatik 

15. Vellore. 

16. Tanjore. 

But we get a larger number in a jabta * 
drawn in the earlier years of Chhatrapati Shahu. 
The document, written partly in Persian and 
partly in Marathi, is supposed to be in the hand- 
writing of Shankraji Malhar. It gives the 
boundary and divisions of the Swarajya as under- 



•» Rinode, It. U. P. t pp 117-118. 

" SUwJI, J.bft* Sw*r»»y*. J.B Br R A.B . Vd. XXII, pp. 36 -8S». 




REVENUE AND FINANCE 



9 $ 

stood in Shahu’s time. The following are the 
provinces enumerated in Shahu's jabita Swarajya: 

i. Subha Ramnagar including Ghandevi. 



2. 


tf 


Jawhar Prant. 


3 - 


tl 


Prant Bhiwadi (12 Talukas). 


4* 


If 


K alvan (20 Talukas). 


5* 


11 


Cheul (6 Talukas). 


6. 


II 


Rajpuri (12 Talukas). 


m 

!• 


• f 


Javali (18 Talukas). 


8. 


>1 


Dabhol (11 Talukas). 


9 


>1 


Rajapoor (18 Talukas). 


to. 


II 


Kudal (15 Talukas). 


1 1 . 


• 1 


Prant Bhimgad (5 Talukas). 


12 . 


•1 


Prant Phondc (5 Talukas). 


1 3 * 


II 


Prant Akole (5 Talukas). 


•4 


• » 


Poona (6 Talukas). 


«5- 


11 


Baramati. 


16. 


II 


Indapur. 


« 7 - 


11 


Prant Mawal (13 Talukas). 


1 8. 


M 


Prant Wai (4 Talukas). 


>9 


It 


Prant Satara (6 Talukas) 


20. 


11 


Prant Kurhad (9 Talukas) 


21. 


II 


Prant Khatao excluding Kasba 






Khatao (1 1 Talukas). 


22. 


11 


Prant Man (4 Talukas). 


2 3 - 


II 


Prant Phaltan Mahal. 


2 4' 


11 


Prant Belgaum 


2 5 - 


•• 


Sampgaon. 


26. 


11 


Gadag. 


27. 


ll 


Laxmeshwar. 




g6 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 



28. 


Subha 


Nawalghund. 


29. 


• t 


Kopal. 


3 °- 


• 1 . 


Halyal. 


3«- 


• 1 


Betgiri. 


32. 


• 1 


Malkapur (4 Talukas). 


33 - 


t» 


Prant Panhala (10 Talukas). 


34 - 


• 1 


Tarle (5 Talukas). 


35 - 




Ajcra (51 Talukas). 


36 . 


II 


Prant Junnar (24 Talukas). 


37 - 


VI 


Kolhapore. 



Some of these may be later additions, but this 
list, we think, fairly represents the division of 
Shivaji s kingdom. Sambhaji had no mind to 
improve the administration and Rajaram had 
no leisure. It is not, therefore, probable that 
many changes had been made in the territorial 
division of the kingdom before the accession of 
Chhatrapati Shahu. 

Shivaji had done away with the agency of 
such old hereditary officers as the Patil and the 
Kulkami in the village and the Deshmukh and 
the Deshpandc in the district. They were left in 
the enjoyment of their old dues but the work of 
revenue collection was entrusted to new officers 
directly appointed by the king. The country had 
been divided by the Muhammadan government 
for revenue purposes into Mauja, Pargana, Sarkar, 
and Subhas ; Shivaji abolished, or to be more ac- 
curate, modified these old divisions. In his time 
the country was divided into Maujas, Tarfs and 




REVENUE AND FINANCE 



97 



Prants. The officer in charge of a Tarf was 
styled as Havaldar, Karkun or, in some rare in- 
stances, Paripatyagar. The officer in charge of 
a Prant was variously designated as Subhedar, 
Karkun or Mukhya Deshadhikari. Over several 
Prants was sometimes placed an officer called 
Sarsubhedar, to supervise the work of the Subhe- 
dars. These officars. like the Kamavisdars and 
the Mamlatdars of the Peshwa period, had to look 
after all the branches of the administration. The 
Subhedar's staff consisted of the usual comple- 
ment of eight officers, vis. 

1. The Dewan. 

2. The Mazumdar. 

3. The Fadnis. 

4. The Sabms. 

5. The Karkhanis. 

6. The Chitnis. 

7. The Jamadar. 

8. The Potnis. 

The Subhedar usually had an annual salary of 
four hundred Hons a year, including the palanquin 
allowance. While his Mazumdar's pay varied 
from one hundred to one hundred ^ind twenty- 
five Hons a year. The Mazumdar also enjoyed 
the proud privilege of carrying a sun-shade® on 
public occasions and a small allowance was sanc- 
tioned' by the government for its upkeep. A 



'3 



t# Abdagir, 




9$ ADMIN'ISrRVNVK SYSTEM OF THE MAK.VTH \S 

Havaldar in charge of a small village had often 
to be contented with a paltry allowance of three 
to five Hons only a ye ar * 

The Katnavisdar and the Mamlatdar under 
the Peshwa regime, though appointed for a short 
term, were generally allowed to retain their office 
for life, and to transmit it to their heirs. No 
public office was hereditary under Shivaji's ad- 
ministration. and like the Magistrates and Commis- 
sioners of British India, his Karknns, Havaldars, 
and Subhedars were, as a rule, transferred from 
district to district and province to province. 
This can be clearly proved by a list of officers 
carefully compiled by Mr. Bhashkar Vaman Bhat 31 
from the official letters and documents published 
in the 15th, 1 6th, 17th, 1 8th and 20th volumes of 
Mr. Raj wade's Marat hyanchya Itihasaitchi 

Sad haunt. 

In Mr. Bhat s list, we find that the following 
officers were in charge of the several districts for 
the years marked against their names: 

Havaldar. 

Nimb ... Yesaji Ram ... 1676 A.D. 

Haveli ... Ainaji Kanho ... 1676 A.D. 

Koregaon ... Bhimaji Malhar ... 1676 A.D. 



•• tf*blt**ml. |». #1. Sir* Oilia'.rmpati. p. 3f> 

BK*nt Ilitjii Staaliodbak Maori*), Tntfja Satnisieliui Vrittft 
pp. IZM3I. 




REVF.Nl'F. AND PINANTF. 



99 



Tarf Satara ... Kukaji Bayaji ... 1675 A.D. 

„ „ ... Mahadaji Anant ... 1676 A.D. 

u „ ... Tukaji Prabhu .. 1677 A.D. 

We are not in possession of a complete list 
of Havaldars. and we do not know whether in 
other districts also officers were changed so often 
as in Satara. Our information about Subhedars 
and Sarsubhedars is, however, more satisfactory 
and the working of the principle of a short term 
appointment and occasional transfer can be very 
conveniently proved by the following instances 
from Mr. Bhat's fist : 



Subhedars. 



Wai Prant ... 


Yesaji Malhar ... 


1676 A.D. 


• 1 1* ••• 


M •' * ’* 


1679 A D, 


II #1 ••• 


II M 


1687 A.D. 


l» II ••• 


II 


1690 A.D. 


• 1 II 


•• II ••• 


1696 A D. 


II l| ••• 


Anaji Janardan 


1697 A.D. 


Jawli 


Viroram 


1664 A.D. 


II 


Yiththal Datto ... 


1671-1672 

A.D. 


l» «»• 


Ambaji Mordeu ... 


1676 A.D. 


II ••• 


Gopal Rayaji 


1677 A D 


M 


Kashi Rangnath... 


1680 A.D. 


Prant Kol 


Ganesh Jogdeu ... 


1672 A.D, 


M •> 


Venkaji Rudra ... 


1677 A.D. 


Prant Puna ... 


Tryambak Gopal... 


1679 A.D 


II «l ••• 


Vinayak Umaji ... 


1681 A.D 




IOO ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 



It is also certain that this principle survived 
Shivaji and continued down to the first decade of 
the 1 8th century so far as the appointment of 
Mudradharis was concerned. In support of this 
view Mr Rhat lias produced the following list of 
Mudradharis or officers in charge of Sajjangad: 



Jijoji Katkar 
Do 

Makaji Katkar 
Barhanji Mohite 
Do. 

Girjoji Bhonsle 
Do. 

Yesaji Jadhava, from 
1 1 th Falgun 
Satbaji Daval 



1676 A.D. 
1682 A.D. 
1689 A.D. 
1692 A.D. 
1699 A.D. 

1708 A D 

1 709 A.D. 

1709 A.D 
1712 A.D. 



Mr. Bhat further points out that Ambaji Mor- 
deu, who was Subhedar of Jawli in 1676, occupied 
the office of the Subhedar of Satara from 1683- 
1685. Mahadji Shainraj, Subhedar of Jawli from 
1706-1708, was formerly in charge of Prants 
Satara and Mawal. 

From the multiplicity of their duties these 
officers were liable to Corruption. Public opinion 
in those days was not offended if a Havaldar 
went out of his way to take a small present 
from a traveller for granting his passport, or 
from an aggrieved petitioner for redressing his 
grievances. Dr. Fryer, who visited the Maratha 




REVENUE AND FINANCE !Ol 

dominions towards the close of Shivaji's career, 
has left a quaint account of such an occasion. 
“When I came before the Governor," says the 
Doctor,* 1 “ I found him in State, though under 
an Hovel ; where were many Brack mins with 
Accrompt Rooks, writing at some distance ; nearer, 
his Privy council, with whom he seemed to 
advise : I was placed on his Left hand, and 
desired my Interpreter to acquaint him my 
Errand, withal intreating his Favour for my secure 
passing the Hill: He made it a piece of diffi- 
culty, and told me I must return to Bimly for 
Orders, to whose Havaldctr he was accountable, 
not to him of Gulleon ; which was within half 
a day’s journey from whence I set forth. Hear- 
ing this I bore myself as sedately as I could, 
having been informed of the advantage they 
take of a disturbed Countenance ; and sweetened 
him with his own Authority being sufficient, 
telling him of his Master’s Kindness to the 
English, and their friendship towards him: 
which worked him to a yielding Temper ; yet 
he scrupled my Canister , or Trunk, might be 
lined with Pearl, my Horse sold to the Enemy, 
hoping to suck somewhat out of me ; I reply- 
ing, What I had brought were at his liberty to 
search, and that I went only on an amicable 
account to Cure a Sick Person and should be 



•* Frrer.pi 127. 




102 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OK THE MARA THAS 



as ready to serve him, if required, his Fury was 
quite pawled but perceiving an hungry look to 
hang on them all, and suspecting lest they should 
serve me some Dog-trick, I made a small Present, 
and he signing the Pass, dismissed me with a 
Bundle of Pawn the usual Ceremony at Parting.’ 
The hungry look and the weakness for presents 
are perhaps pardonable, but another charge 
that the Knglish Doctor brought against Shivaji's 
revenue officers is too serious to be overlooked. 

Public officers in the 1 7th century whether 
Asiatic or Kuropean were not ovcrscrupulous 
But good kings, as a rule, exercised a strict 
control over them. Shivaji. in particular was 
served by a very efficient intelligence depart- 
ment. It is an old practice in India to employ 
spies to watch over the conduct of government 
servants.” The work of District and Provincial 
officers was supervised by the Pant Amatyn and 
the Pant Sachiv. Kanade tells us that “ The 
district accounts had to he sent to these officers, 
and were there collated together, and irregularities 
detected and punished. These officers had power 
to depute men on their establishments to super- 
vise the working of the district officers.' * Shivaji. 
moreover, was very keen about the success of his 
government and wanted that his administration 

11 See Kft'ttily*. ArUiatltMt*** translated by K Shama Shnetry. 

p. to. 



•• RnnuiU*, R 11. P.. p. 125. 




REVENUE AND FINANCE 10$ 

should compare favourably with that of his 
Muhammadan neighbours “ But all his cares and 
sound regulations were fruitless indeed if his 
revenue officers really worked as arbitrarily as 
Fryer says they did. 41 They arc neither for 
Public Good or Common Honesty, but their own 
private Interest only: They refuse no Base 
Offices for their own Commodity, inviting Mer- 
chants to come and tradc among them, and then 
rob them, or else turmoil them on account of 
Customs : always in a Comer getting more for 
themselves than their Master, yet openly must 
seem mighty zealous for their Master s Dues : 
So that Trade is unlikely to settle where he 
hath anything to do ; notwithstanding his 
Country lies all along on the Sea-shore, and 
no Goods can be transported without his Per- 
mission ; unless they go a great way about, as we 
are forced to do.” 

This is by no means the worst that the Eng. 
lish traveller has to say against the Maratha 
officers. He continues—" It is a General Cala- 
mity, and much to be deplored, to hear the 
Complaints of the poor People that remain, or 
are rather compelled to endure the Slavery of 
Sera Gi : The Destes have Land imposed upon 
them at double the former Rates, and if they 
refuse to accept it on these hard Conditions (if 



• • 



BojwwJ*. M. 1. 6 . Vol. VIII, *■». 




to.* ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARAT HAS 

Monied Men) they are carried to Prison, there 
they are famished almost to death ; racked and 
tortured most inhumanly till they confess where 
it is : Thev have now in Limbo several Brack • 

a 

wins, whose Flesh they tear with pincers heated 
Red-hot, drub them on the Shoulders to extreme 
Anguish (though according to their Law it is for- 
bidden to strike a Brack min). . This is the accus- 
tomed Sawce all India over, the Princes doing 

# 

the same by the Governors, when removed from 
their Offices, to squeeze their illgot Instates out 
of them ; which when they have done, it may 
be they may be employ'd again : And after this 
fashion the Desk’s deal with the Co rubies ; 
so that the Great Fish prey bn the Little, as well 
by Land as by Sea, bringing not only them, but 
their Families into Eternal Bondage/'" Fryer 
was of opinion that even Bijapore rule was 
milder than that of Shivaji. 

If Fryer's account is borne out by facts, the 
state of the country was terrible indeed. But 
Fryer had made only a short trip through 
Shivaji’s dominions and his stay there was by no 
means long. It does not appear probable that 
his account was based on personal experience or 
first hand knowledge of any other kind. Shivaji 
is still adored as an ideal king, and people 
referred to his institutions with admiration in 



,# Fryer, pp. 146-147. 




REVENUE AND FINANCE 105 

days of anarchy and misrule. Traditions may be 
exaggerated, but they are never entirely baseless. 
Traditions attribute all sorts of good institutions 
to such good rulers as Alfred and Elizabeth, 
but legends have not hitherto paid any tribute 
to the memory of such bad kings as John and 
James II. It is a very important point that the 
memory of Shivaji* is still cherished by the 
people of Maharashtra as that of a great and good 
king. If he had really tortured his Brahman 
officers with red hot pincers and they in their 
turn had dealt out similar treatment to the 
Desais, Shivaji would not have been revered as 
an incarnation of Shri Shambhu Mahadev. We 
have already seen how the great Maratha had 
striven to liberate the poor peasants from the 
tyranny of the Deshinukhs and Deshpandes. 
It, therefore, seems improbable that he should 
allow his officers to force lands on the Desais 
at an exorbitant rate. Far from molesting any 
Brahman, Shivaji never offered any insult to 
holy men and holy places of his Muhammadan 
enemies. Although many temples and idols were 
defiled and desecrated by Muhammadan 
bigots, Shivaji never failed to send any copy of 
the Quran, he might come in possession of, to 
some of his Muslim officers. Even Khafi Khan, 
an inveterate enemy of the Maratha hero, paid 
him an unwilling compliment on that account .* 7 

*' Elliot ltd Do-wu. VoL vu. p. aiu. 



'4 




>o6 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF Til F. MARATHAS 



Dellon, a French Physician, who visited the 
western coast about the same time as Fryer, re- 
marks that “ His (Shivaji’s) subjects arc pagans, 
like himself But he tolerates all religions and 
is looked upon as one of the most politic princes 
in those parts.”* Shivaji styled himself as Go- 
Brahman Pratipalak , * Protector of Brahmans 
and cows,' and could hardly with any consis- 
tency to his professed ambition, overlook the 
conduct of his officers, if they really tortured 
the Brahmans. Fryer's story, therefore, seems to 
be baseless. Corruption there certainly existed, 
and instances of tyranny and misrule doubtless 
occurred. Shivaji, in the midst of those wars of 
conquest and defence, could hardly get any time 
for improving his government. But Fryer 
seems to have dipped his brush in the black 
dye too frequently while painting a picture of 
Shivaji's country. Grant Duff* says, H The 
Mahomedan writers, and one contemporary 
English traveller, describe his country as in the 
worst possible state ; and the former only mention 
him as a depredator and destroyer ; but those 
districts taken by him from Bccjaporc, which had 
been under the management of farmers Hnd direct 
agenjs of government, probably experienced great 
benefit by the change.” 

•• DcIIod, pp. 66-67. 

•• Grant DuS, Vol. I, p. 188. 




REVENUE AND FINANCE 107 

6 . Mints and Coins 

Besides land revenue and customs duties, a 
small income was derived from mints. The 
Pcshwas did not permit free coining, but the 
goldsmiths usually obtained license for mints 
under certain restrictions. That must have been 
the practice in the pre-Peshwa period also. 
Shivaji never tried to control the currency and 
plainly told the English Ambassador, that “ he 
forbids not the passing of any manner of Coins, 
nor on the other side, can he force his Subjects 
to take those Monies whereby they shall be 
Losers ; but if their Coin be as fine an Allay, 
and as weighty as the Mogul’s, and other Princes, 
he will not prohibit it.”*' The result was that all 
sorts of foreign coins were current in Shivaji's 
kingdom and even in his own treasury could 
be found few or no coins of the Rairi mint. 
Sabhasad says 41 that Shivaji had no less than 
400,000 of Shivarai Hons at the time of his death, 
but these Shivarai Hons were in all probability 
of Vijayanagar origin, for only 2 or 3 Shivaji 
Hons have yet been discovered. Sabhasad 
enumerates no less than 32 different kinds of 
gold coins and 6 different kinds of silver coins 
while giving an account of Shivaji’s treasures. 
They were : 

•• Fryer, p. fill. 

I* 96. 8*»n, Chhutrapati, p|i. 1&4-I.V. 




108 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 



Gold Coins. 



1. 


Gambar. 


18. 


Advani Hon. 


a. 


Mohar. 


* 9 * 


Jadmal Hon 


3 * 


Putli 


20. 


Tadpatri Hon. 


4 - 


Padshahi Hon 


21. 


Afraji Hon. 


5- 


Satlamis or Satrainis. 


22. 


Tribaluri Hon. 


6. 


Ibhrami 


2 3 


Trisuli Hon. 


7 - 


Shivarai Hon 


24. 


Chandavari (Tanjori. 


8. 


Kaveripak. 




Hon. 


9. Sangari Hon. 


25 


Bildhari Hon. 


IO. 


Achyutrai Hon. 


26. 


Ulphakari Hon. 


1 1. 


Devarai Hon. 


27- 


Muhammad Shahi 


12. 


Ramchandrarai Hon 




Hon 


*3 


Guti Hon 


28. 


Vcluri Hon. 


■4 


Dharwari Hon 


29. 


Katerai Hon. 


f 5 * 


Falam (Fanam). 


30. 


Devajvali Hon. 


16. 


Pralkhati Hon. 


3' 


Ramnathpuri Hon. 


*7- 


Pav Naiki Hon. 


32 


Kungoti Hon 




Silver 


Coins. 


1. 


Rupees. 


4 


Dabholi Kabri. 


2. 


Asrafis. 


5 


Chauli Kabri. 


3 


Abashis. 


6. 


Basri Kabri, 



Some of these coins were current in foreign 
countries; Ibhrami. for instance, was common in 
the market places of Bussorah. 4 * 

Shivaji had his mint at Raigad. His first 
coins were not probably issued before 1674. A 



** Fry«r, p. 810 . 




REVENUE ANI) FINANCE 109 

large number of copper coins were issued, and 
no less than 25,000 of these were collected and 
examined by the Rev. Mr. Abbott. 43 But very 
few gold coins of Shivaji are known to-day, 
probably because only a few were struck. 

Shivaji had no good mechanic to work his 
mint. The irregular shape of the coins and the 
misshapen alphabets of the legends show the 
crude method of their manufacture. The writer 
of the Bombay Gazetteer 44 gives the following 
account of the working of the Chandor mint, 
closed in 1 830. “ A certain quantity of silver of 

the required test was handed over to each man 
who divided it into small pieces, rounded and 
weighed them, greater care being taken that the 
weights should be accurate than that size should 
be uniform For this purpose scales and weights 
were given to each of the 400 workmen, and the 
manager examined them every week. When 
the workmen were satisfied with the weight of 
the piece, they were forwarded to the manager 
who sent them to be stamped. In stamping the 
rupee an instrument like an anvil was used It 
had a hole in the middle with letters inscribed 
on it. Piece after piece was thrown into the 
hole, the seal was held by a workman called 
batekari ; and a third man gave a blow with a six 
pound hammer. Three men were able to strike 

•• J. B- Hr. H.A.S Vd- XX, p. UN. 

•* Bombay Gazetteer. Vol. XVI, p. 4 W. 




1IO ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OK THE MARATHAS 

2.000 pieces an hour, or 20,000 in a working day 
of ten hours. As I he seal was a little larger than 
the piece, all the letters were seldom inscribed.'' 
The Chandor mint was opened long after Shivaji's 
demise. But that the description holds good with 
respect to Shivaji’s mint also, can be proved by 
a simple inspection of Shivarai coins. The small 
Shivarai Hon in the museum of the Bharat Itihas 
Sanshodhak Mandal. for example, lacks the 
compound letter “ tra ” in the word Chhatrapati, 
evidently because the little circular piece had 
originally been hammered on a seal of much 
larger size. 

The goldsmiths in charge of the mint could 
evidently boast of very little learning. In the 
copper coins alone, we find no less than eight 
different spellings of the word Shri Raja Shiva 
Chhatrapati. The Rev. Mr. Abbott gives the 
following eight variations in the spelling of 
this word on Shivarai pice : 



1. 


Ob ... 


R 


*2. 


•» 


It 


3. 


„ ... 


„ 


4. 


* ’ikmnifc ... 


WWQflt it 


5. 


... 


saaft! 11 


fi. 


^kl3Uf<MI ... 


saqtit „ 


7. 


nkisTflk ... 


flFaofn „ 


8. 




it 







REVENUE AND FINANCE III 

The small Shivarai Hon in the Bharat Itihas 
Sanshodhak Mandal’s ,J museum has on the 
obverse the figures of Shiva and Bhavani 
seated side by side, and on the reverse the name 
of Shivaji inscribed in the following manner : 

(modi) (a) 

qrnt 

7. Chauth and Sardeshwukhi : 

But neither the land revenue, nor the customs 
duties and the income from mints, added 
so much to the treasury of Shivaji as the 
Chauth and the Sardeshmukhi. Even in 
normal times he depended more on his army 
than on his civil officers for the necessary 
finances. It is on this account that he has been 
branded as a robber chief both by his contem- 
poraries and by posterity as well. But the great 
Marat ha king had no other alternative He 
had to brave the enmity of the Mug ha Is 
and the Sultan of Bijaporc, not to count the 
pinpricks that he had often to bear from such 
minor powers as the Habshis of Janjira, the 

“ of Prof. D. V. Mir, (ho Joint 8*cni mrj 

Ui# B.I.S. Mmjftl, 1 oblkinnH *n opportunity of flumininv 
lhM r * all J rmro onin, hat it hma ilrmdj boon described by M r . Mure 
In »ke nflh 8»mn>tUn VritU of lira llnoiUJ, p. |tl. 




I 12 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THEMARATHAS 



Portuguese of Goa, and petty semi-independent 
chiefs like the Koli Rajas. He had to 
organise an army to defend his newly conquered 
territories, he had to build innumerable forts 
to fortify difficult passes, he had to fit out a 
fleet to prevent the piracy and the depredations 
of the Siddi's navy, he had to buy arms and 
ammunitions and needed money for these works. 
Nature was by no means munificent to the 
Maratha. The valleys yielded hut a scanty return 
to the strenuous labour of the Mawali peasants. 
It would have been impossible for Shivaji to 
finance his army and navy from the limited 
resources of his native land alone, even if he 
had taxed all his ingenuity to enhance them. 
Consequently he had to make war furnish the 
means of war. 

But Chauth and Sardeshmukhi were 
quite different from spoils of war. They were 
more or less permanent demands. Shivaji’s 
claim to Sardeshmukhi was based on a legal 
fiction. He claimed to be the hereditary Sardesh- 
mukh of his country and had put forth his claim 
early in his career. If his claim had been 
acknowledged, or if he had succeeded in obtain- 
ing a farman in its support, there would have 
been no legal flaw whatever in his demand. 
This imperial sanction, however, could not be 
obtained before Shahu's accession to his grand- 
father’s throne, and in Shivaji’s time at least, 




REVENUE AND FINANCE 



*«3 

Sardeshmukhi was not recognised as his 
watan. Chauth was nothing but a tribute 
exacted from the weak by the strong. The 
Raja of Bednore and the Chief of Soonda agreed 
to pay Chauth in 1676, because they had 
no option in the matter. Shivaji had invaded 
their principalities with a strong army and any 
refusal would have been sternly punished. The 
Marathas obtained a legal right to levy Chauth, 
when the diplomacy of Balaji Vishwanath 
secured for 8hahu an imperial recognition of 
that oft-repeated claim. This legal sanction 
would have been of little avail, if it had not 
been backed by the lance of the Maratha 
horseman. Nothing short of an expedition 
would make any chief or king, either Hindu 
or Muhammadan, admit Shivaji’s claim to a 
quarter of his revenue and nothing but a 
strong army could enforce punctual payment. 
It was, therefore, a military contribution 
levied by a power without being in formal 
occupation of the country, and without observ- 
ing the formalities specified by modern 
International Law. But the late Mr. Ranade 
does not admit that Chauth was a mere military 
contribution without any moral or legal 
obligation on the part of the Marathas to protect 
the Chauth-paying chiefs from the invasion 
of a third power or to restore peace and order 
in their country. He was of opinion that the 

«5 




1 14 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 



policy underlying the exaction of Chauth 

was the same as that which impelled Lord 
Wellesley to enforce a subsidiary alliance on his 
weaker neighbours "The demand for chouth 

was subsequently added with the consent of the 
powers whose protection was undertaken against 
foreign aggression, on payment of fixed sums for 
the support of the troops maintained for such 
service. This was the original idea as worked out 
by Shivaji, and it was this same idea which in the 
Marquis of Wellesley s hand bore such fruit a 
hundred and twenty five years later." Such is 
Ranade's interpretation of the Chauth policy* 

•• K U P . pp. m 225 

Thu Ctitj'.h «rj* originally nothing hut h black mail. The 
subject* of the Soil Kaja of Rnranogar o**d to give oontiderablo trouble 
to the Pnrtaguove aubjeuti of Daman by their robbery, depredation end 
pandering raid* At last the peocefel inhabits itu or *i>mu villages in 
the District of Damon came to an amicable arrangement with the Haju 
of Knmoarar and agreed to pay him an annual tribute railed the 
Chauth (Chouto) provided hU people r»o longer caused them any loan or 
trouble. The Raja of EUrouagar was styled in the Portuguese record* 
aa the king Choniut aa he iu»d to rrccivo ChaaLh When thit 
arrangement was made we do not exactly kaow, bet it haa been 
moatioued by Tr. Antonio de Uonveia aa early at 1603 (Joma4n, N. 
125 quoted la Delgado's OU+tarw £w«g Anefsen, Vol. I, p. 2M0.) The 
King Chou tie and his claim to Chauth baa boon referred to iu a royal 
loiter In 1G0&. After the annexation of the Koli principal* tea of 
Jawbaraod Ramnagnr Shivaji asserted hi* clnim to the Chauth of 
Duaiitti* He demanded Chauth from bid Muhammadan enemies fur the 
flrtt time in 1666 and it u noteworthy that ho had patted through the 
principality of Ramnagar an hie way to Sarut la Uie previous yaar. It 
it therefor# nlear that Shivaji w not the originator of Chauth bat 
he was certainly responsible for iu wider application. For a more 
detailed diacuaaJon of this intereating qneat ion, the reader le referred 
U> my Riiloricnl Bscords at Qoa, pp. 1 The unpublished Portugaaee 




REVENUE AND FINANCE 1 15 

It is true that Shahu had, in return for the 
grant of Chauth, bound himself to maintain 
a body of 15,000 horse in the Emperor's service, 
to be placed at the disposal of the Subhedars, 
Faujdars and officers in the different districts 
“and to maintain peace and order." But 
neither Shahu nor the Peshwas ever cared to 
assist the Subhedars of the Deccan unless it 
served their own interest. Shivaji also had often 
offered his services to the Emperor of Delhi, but 
he had exacted Chauth at the point of his 
sword ; the Emperor did not expect that Shivaji 
would ever look after the Mughal interests 
and Shivaji also knew that no treaty would 
serve him better than his own strong arms. 
It cannot, therefore, be denied that the Maratha 
kings exacted Chauth without undertaking the 
least responsibility for the country's welfare, 
and it should also be remembered that they 
never expected the Chauth-paying states to 
give up their diplomatic independence. Here lies 
the fundamental difference between the subsi- 
diary system and the exaction of Chauth. The 
East India Company always held themselves 
responsible for the defence of the allied 

state, while they expected it to renounce 

**coc<U liara been for tho firet time quoted there id extraeo, The 
***** of Ram nutfui did mot, it ahonld be noted, offer to protect the 
P®«f»le of Dameu from foreign eggreMion bat it wu onlj the aggrctuioti 
* hie o«n people that he undercook to prevent and Hbirmji does not 
appear lo hare gone further iheu that 




Il6 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MaRATHAS 



all diplomatic relations with other powers. 
Moreover, the Marathas never cared to maintain 
an extra Regiment when they received Cliauth 
from a prince, nor had the amount of tribute 
any relation to the possible expense that might 
be incurred in the defence of the Chauth- 
paying territories I do not, however, hold that 
the Maratha statesmen had no idea of a subsi- 
diary arrangement ; such an arrangement was 
made with the Raja of Bundi by the Peshwas, 
but that was long after the demise of Shivaji. 

The Chauth was therefore nothing but a 
contribution exacted by a military leader. But 
are such exactions sanctioned by International 
Law ? The ancient Romans, while extending 
their empire, had set no limit to their rapacity. 
“ Bellum alit btllum" war must pay for war, 
was their favourite maxim. But pillage has not 
ceased to be an inevitable characteristic of war 
with the dissolution of the Roman Empire. 
Even in the 19th century, so late as 1865, 
General Sherman s campaign had been accom- 
panied by the systematic pillage of the terri- 
tories he marched through. 11 Requisition, 
which is only a variation of contribution, is also 
sanctioned by the most modern laws of war and 
was practised, though unwillingly, by no less a 
man than George Washington." Shivaji also 

#t Bentwik'b, p. 2*. 

•• /bit/, 10. 




REVENUE AND FINANCE I I 7 

could plead as urgent a necessity as Washington. 
Both of them had been fighting for their 
country’s liberation and both of them were 
sorely in need of money. Washington requisi- 
tioned the property of his unwilling fellow- 
citizens and Shivaji levied contribution on the 
enemy subjects. It served two ends at once. 
It not only weakened the enemy he was fighting, 
but at the same time added to his own resources. 

Shivaji’s kingdom was a military state if we 
are allowed to style it so. It was in a state of 
chronic warfare. Even for its finances, Shivaji 
depended more on war than on the processes of 
peace. The wealth amassed in the ports of his 
enemies by their commercial enterprise flowed 
into Shivaji’s treasury, as a reward of his mili- 
tary prowess. The result of this policy was the 
inevitable ruin of trade and commerce. Surat, 
the premier port of Western India, lost its trade 
for ever. But while plundering his enemies 
lands Shivaji took good care to protect his own 
country from a similar calamity. It was abso- 
lutely impossible that his attempts in this 
direction should be crowned with complete 
success. But he did all that was practicable. His 
statesmanship converted the hardy soldiers of 
Maharashtra into excellent civil administrators. 
Shivaji did not aspire to be an original legislator, 
indeed, he had no leisure for such work. But he 
revived some of the best regulations of his 




I iS ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF TOE MARATHAS 



pffedecessors and made slight improvements 
upon them. It docs not seem possible that he 
had been able to achieve much reform. We also 
do not know how far the spirit of these regulations 
was observed by Shivaji’s officers. The public 
opinion of that time did not condemn bribery and 
corruption and we are afraid, Shivaji’s officers 
were not much better, if not actually worse, than 
their successors of the Peshwa period. His 
country saw no peace till the overthrow of the 
Mughal power. Shivaji never had more than 
a couple of peaceful years at a time and even 
that not more than once in his life It is futile 
to expect that commerce and agriculture 
should prosper under these circumstances. 
But Shivaji’s regulations were well suited to the 
needs of the country. The assessment was 
flexible and varied from year to year. Whatever 
might have been the annual yield, a considerable 
share was left to the peasants In the years of 
scarcity they could expect relief from the state. 
Consequently, they had good reasons to devote 
their attention to agricultural pursuits, but it is 
quite probable that the prospects and honour 
of a military career had stronger charms for the 
hardy peasant of the Ghat ranges. 




APPENDIX C 

“ A Kaulnama from Rajashri Annaji Datto 
to the Deshmukh, and Deshkulkarni and Mok- 
dam, Patil and the peasantry of Tarf Rohidkhore 
in the Subha of Mawal, dated Surasan Tisa 
Sabain Alaf (1678), — You came to the presence 
at camp Lakhevadi and (represented) that in 
the watani districts of His Majesty, the rayats 
should be encouraged by the confirmation of 
their kaul and fixing the rent of the lands. 

Having confidence and taking into 

consideration the remissions made, we grant the 
following terms for the land. From the year 
San Saman (it is the practice to realise) half 
the produce, from the last year the lands were 
remeasured according to the bighaont system 
and the rent was fixed from a calculation of 
the produce and it was settled that of the 

^ an< ^ s the inspection 

(. pahani ) of what places had one year been 
made, and the produce was found to have 
decreased and a plot though originally a 
first class land had (now) deteriorated then 
Such a settlement 




120 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 



was not made after an understanding with the 
rayats. Therefore you petitioned that a settle- 
ment should be made (about the rent). There- 
upon the following agreement is made that in 

the present year is almost over 

and the last one month only remains 

The agreement about the rent of San Sabaina 

the (produce) should b.: estimated, such 

was the agreement made. If some Brahman 
or Prabhu Karkuns are appointed for this work, 
then what will those lethargic people do? Into 
how many blocks are village lands divided, 
what are the crops grown in the village, what 
rent should be realised, what (do those) poor 

men (know about that) Therefore, as you 

are the people responsible for the revenue 
of your district (this work has been) thrown 
upon you. Therefore you should from to-day 

make an estimate of the revenue 

of your district. For this work. the 
Deshmukh and the Dcshkulkarni and the 
Mokdam and officers. ..accompanied by a few 
rayats, should with one accord go from village 
to village and ascertain that the produce of such 
a village is so much, the land (in it). ..is so 
much, of the (arable) land, the first, second, and 
third class (plots). ..arc so many. After care- 
fully ascertaining (these things) and making 
an estimate of the crops grown, ...... ...you should 

after a proper enquiry find out what may be 




APPENDIX 



121 



the probable produce if (more) labour is applied, 
and put that amount (under that class of) 
lands -You should make your estimate after 
examining (proper) evidence, in the following 
manner —that at a certain place Malik Ambar's 
(estimated) produce was so much, of that 
autumnal or the first harvest of the first, second, 
third and the fourth class lands is so much, of 
the second or the vernal crop is so much. After 
determining the (produce of) the two harvests, 
you should state that in so many bighas is such 
and such crop (cultivated). After making these 
entries (under the heading) of each particular 
village, if there are few peasants. ..then according 
to the above order, you should make an estimate 
of produce of the whole Tape, and to do this 
work, time of a year from to-day. has been given 
to you You must in the meantime, inspect the 
whole Tape, village by village, field by field, and 
carefully ascertain their yield and write to me. I 
shall thereafter come and inspect three villages 
of these (different) sorts in your Tape one... 
hilly, one marshy and one with black soil. ..and 
the villages near their boundary having been 
inspected according to the practice of the Kar- 
kuns,.. having connected (and) (comparing 
that ?)... Your total and what may be the produce 
of one village. ..and making it ready according 
to that... if the total under each item become 
i i or double as much, then in that way... 
16 




122 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 

if, if and double... having been proved correct 
...and you are to (realise accordingly). ..should 
do if. ..do so then. ..it will be all right if it 
tallies. ..settlement. ..settlement. ..to be made... 
agree. ..to this effect has been made. ..we are 
agreeable.. .the cultivation of the district. ..Give 
such an assurance. ..from the Huzur. 1 

• lUjwuU. H . I. 8 , Vol- XV 1 pp a69-na 




APPENDIX D 



Coins mentioned by Sabhasaii 

I have not beer> able to identify all the gold 

coins mentioned by Sabhasad. 

0 

(i) Gambar is probably the same as Gubbur a 
coin current at Bombay in 1763. It was worth 
at that date 3 Rupees 12 annas and 6 pies. 
Hunter, Annals of Rural Bengal, Appendix 0 . 
P- 474 - 

(2 & 3) Mohar and Putlis are rather common 
coins, the value of a Putli is about 4 Rs. 

Hon, Vara ha and Pagoda are synonymous 
terms. The word Hon may be a corruption of 
Sanskrit Suvarna; Gerson da Cunha says that 
the original meaning of hun in Kanarese is 
gold {Contribution to the Numismatics, p. 10). 
Shivarai, Achyutrai, Devarai and Ramchandrarai 
Hons were Vijavanagar coins named after 
different kings who issued them, according to 
a custom prevalent in the country. The Portu- 
guese chronicler Femilo Nuniz refers to this 
custom in the following words : — “ On the death 
of that king Bucarao there came to the throne 




124 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OK THE MAKATHAS 

his son called Pureoyre Deorao, which in Canara 
means 41 powerful lord ” and he coined a money 
of pardaos which even now they call “ puroure 
deorao " ; and from that time forward it has 
become a custom to call coins by the names of 
the kings that made them ; and it is because of 
this that there are so many names of pardaos in 
the kingdom of Bisnaga." Sewel, A Forgotten 
Empire , pp. 300-301. Kaveripak, Sangari, 
Guti, Dharwari, Advani, Chandavari (Tanjore), 
Veluri and Ramnathpuri Hons, I suppose, derive 
their names from mint towns. Ibhrami was 
current tn coast towns of Persia and Western 
India. It has been mentioned by Fryer as 
Embraims and Dr. Crookc explains in a foot-note 
— “ probably Ibrahimi of Abraham. See John 
Fryer's East India and Persia, Vol. II (Hakluyt 
Society's edition), p. 137 and also Bird’s History 
of Gujrat, p 109. Katerai Hon was the Mysore 
Pagoda. For its weight and intrinsic value 
see Prinsep — Useful Tables. Forrest says “Six 
Canterai pagodas are nearly equal to five star 
pagodas” — Selection, Marat ha Series, p 717. 
Ananda Ranga Pillai mentions Saiyid Muham- 
mad, Amaldar of Tadpatri (see The Private 
Diary of Ananda Eanga Pillai, Vol. VIII, p. 31 
and p. 51) and we also read in his pages of 
Tadpatri dupattis (p. 208). Tadpatri Hon pro- 
bably was a coin current in the district of that 



name. 




COINS MENTIONED BY SABHASAD 125 

Prinsep mentions in his Useful Tables a gold 
coin with the figure of a trident on it, probably 
in it we find the Trisuli Hon of Sabhasad. Is 
Afraji the same as Aftabi, a gold coin of Akbar, 
worth 10 Rs or Aparanj of Princep? 

Fanams were small gold coins current in 
Southern India. “The Fanam was originally 
worth about 1 f Rupees ; later it was coined of 
silver or base gold."— Crooke in Fryer, Y r ol. I, 
p. 106. Three silver Fanams were equivalent to 
three half-pence when lleber wrote in 1825. 

The silver coins mentioned by Sabhasad 
hardly present any difficulty. 

The silver Asrafis were nothing but Portuguese 
Xerafms. A Xeralirn was equal to 300 reis or 
pies. The word. Prof Dalgado supposed, was 
derived from Pcrso Arabic Ashrafi. Sec Dalgado, 
Gloss aria Luso Asiatico, VoL II, pp 424-425. 

Abashi must be Abaser of Fryer Thevenot 
says that this coin was very common at Surat. 
The coin was of Persian origin and was named 
after Shah Abbas II according to Dr. Dalgado 
( Glossario , Vol. I, p 4). Fryer says that in his 
time it was current at Calicut. 41 They (the people 
of Calicut) have yet a correspondence wfith Persia 
as may appear by their Abasees, a sixteen penny 
piece of silver, current among them " ( East India, 
I, p. 143). According to Thevenot it was equiva- 
lent to 18 pence. The Travels of Monseiur de 
Thevenot , London, 1687, part III, p. 2. Dalgado 




126 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OP THE MARATHAS 



sdys that Abassi was a silver coin of the value 
of about 300 reis (or too pice). 

The word Kabri, I believe, is a misreading 
of Lari, a silver coin current in the coast towns 
of Persia and Western India. Gerson da Canha 
dealt with the origin of Lari in a learned article 
contributed to the Journal of the Bombay Branch 
of the Royal Asiatic Society . , The Portuguese 
called it “ tanga larim " and Emerson Tcnnent 
says that money in imitation of them, struck by 
the princes of Bijapur and by Sivaji, the founder 
of the Mahratlas, was in circulation in the 
Dckkan as late as the seventeenth century 
(Ceylon, Vol. I, p. 463). According to Dalgado 
(Glossario, Vol. I, p 5»3) its value varied from 
sixty to hundred reis (or pics). In Sabhasad’s 
list we read of I-aris of Dabhol, Chaul and 
Bussora. 




CHAPTER III 



Organisation of the Military Department. 

/. Forts and Strongholds. 

In his military organisation Shivaji aimed at 
efficiency. Vastly inferior to his enemies in 
numerical strength, he tried to compensate by 
quality the lack of quantity. He, therefore, 
tried to enforce strict discipline in his army and 
appealed not only to the military instinct but 
also to the patriotism of his soldiers. His earli- 
est adherents were the Mawalis, a race of hardy 
hillmen, who came into prominence under 
Shivaji's leadership and have since then relapsed 
to their original obscurity. Shivaji depended 
mainly on these hillmen and the hills. The hills 
constituted an excellent defence, uhile the hillmen 
accompanied him in all his blod excursions and 
perilous raids. The ill clad and ill fed hillmen 
of Mawal were trained into an excellent infantry 
by the great Maratha captain, and he converted 
the bare rocks and mountains into impreg- 
nable forts to bar the enemy's progress through 
his country. At the time of his death. Shivaji 




128 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 



possessed no less than two hundred and forty 
forts and strongholds, and in the jabita swarajya 
of Shahu 1 we find that not a single Taluka 
or Pargana was left without a protecting fort. 
Scott-Waring says that, M before his death he 
(Shivaji) had established his authority over an 
extent of country four hundred miles in length, 
and one hundred and twenty in breadth. His 
forts extended over the vast range of mountains 
which skirt the western shore of India. 
Regular fortification barred the open approaches : 
every pass was commanded by forts: every 
steep and overhanging rock was occupied as a 
station to roll down great masses of stone, which 
made their way to the bottom, and impeded 
the labouring march of cavalry, elephants, and 
carriages.'"* Chitnis pointedly remarked that 
forts were the very life of a kingdom,* and Loka- 
hitavadi tells us that Shivaji was famous mainly 
for building forts. 

Shivaji'* hill forts, impregnable by nature, 
did not require a strong garrison. Five hundred 
was the normal strength, but in some 4 excep- 
tional cases a stronger force was allowed. No 
single officer was ever placed in entire charge 
of the fort and its garrison * 4 In every fort,’ says 
Sabhasad, “there should be a Havaldar, a Sabnis 

1 J. B. Br. K, A. Vol. XXII, pp. 3*^42. 

1 Scott-Waring, pp. 95-97. 

* Cfcitaia, p. 80. 

* Fryar, p- 137. 




MILITARY DEPARTMENT 130 

(and) a Sarnobat; (and) these three officers 
should be of the same status. These three 
should conjointly carry on the administration. 
There should be kept a store of grain and war 
materials in the fort. An officer called Karkha- 
nis was appointed for this work. Under hi s 
supervision should be written all accounts of 
income and expenditure. Where the fort was 
an important one and where forts were of ex- 
tensive circuit, there should be kept five to 
seven Tat Sarnobats The charge of the ram- 
parts should be divided among them. They 
should be careful about keeping a vigilant watch. 
Of every ten men of the garrison to be stationed 
in the fort, one should be made a Naik; nine 
privates and the tenth a Naik. Men of good 
families should in this manner be recruited Of the 
forces, the musketeers, the spearmen, the arch- 
ers, and the lightarmed men should be appointed, 
after the Raja himself had carefully inspected 
each man individually and selected the brave 
and shrewd. The garrison in the fort, the 
Havaldar, and the Sarnobat should be Marathas 
of good families They should be appointed 
after some one of the royal personal staff had 
agreed to stand surety (for them). A Brahman 
known to the king's personal staff should be 
appointed Sabnis and a Prabhu, Karkhanis. 
In this manner each officer retained should be 
dissimilar (in caste) to the others The fort was 

>7 




130 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MAKATHAS 

not to be left in the hands of the Havaldar 
alone. No single officer could surrender the 
fort to any rebel or miscreant. In this manner 
was the administration of the forts carefully 
carried. A new system was introduced. ”• 

The system was neither new nor unknown 
in Southern India. The regulations of Muham- 
mad Adil Shah of Bijapur lay down clearly that 
the officers in charge of a fort should be three 
in number, neither less nor more. The Muham- 
madan ruler also says that these officers should 
be frequently transferred from one fort to ano- 
ther* We have seen in the preceding chapter 
that Shiva ji also used to transfer the Mudradha- 
ris or officers in charge of forts and strongholds 
very often. He could not safely ignore the 
low standard of public morality that prevailed 
at the time while framing these regulations. It 
would have been sheer imprudence to leave a 
single officer entirely in charge of a fort in those 
days of disloyalty and treachery, when gold 
succeeded where policy and prowess failed. 
Shivaji himself had frequently used the golden 
bait with success and it was but natural that 
he should take proper precaution against its 
repetition at his cost. It was also necessary 
that he should conciliate the three principal 
castes by distributing the responsible posts 

* Sabhaiod. pp, 27-2*. Sod, Biv» ChbfttntpuU, |ip. *9*0. 

• Itihafi flimpnhn. Aitituurik Splint* Lokh*, p. 157, 




MILITARY DEPARTMENT 13I 

under his government equally among them. 
The Prabhus and the Rrahmans were jealous of 
one another, may be for social reasons, but the 
state of their feeling could not be overlooked 
even in affairs administrative. Shivaji himself 
had reason to fear Brahman opposition when he 
assumed the sacred thread prior to his coronation. 
The Marathas of his time also eminently deserved 
high commands in the army. The different sec- 
tions of the great Brahman caste were not in 
amity : and Chitnis tells us that the Sabnises were 
recruited from all classes of Brahmans, via. , the 
Deshasthas. the Karhadas, the Konkanasthas and 
the Madhyandins. 

2. The Three Chief Officers and their Duties : 

The chief of the three officers was the Haval- 
dar. He was to keep the keys with him. He 
was to shut the fort gates and lock them up 
with his own hands every evening. He was to 
draw the bolt and see whether the gates were 

' It may be incidentally mentioned here that rhe KonkaoaiOia had 
itui yet ctmo to the forefront iu MaraUia politic* and aiovt of Bhivajl’* 
principal Brahman ottCQVB l»*lor.gi»J to the Dcahuatba *»N*tion Tb*» 
keen intelligence of the Bhetivis had already enpietl a bright |iro*f*«ct 
In another quarter and they had In large number entered the PnMn^ueai* 
service. With their characteristic literary aptitude, they mastered 
Kuiopean tongue* before long and acted a* interpreter* for European 
niwurhanU of all nationalities ll is not clrar whether ibetr perocntlnTi 
lihd brpun *o early. In any case peudcncu demanded that Bhiraji 
tlrnuld recruit hie officer* from all the principal caste*, and ouncaliute 
them all 




132 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 



properly secured He was not to admit any one 
whether friend or foe, during night. Early in 
the morning he was to come and with his own 
hands open the principal gates " Although he 
was to carry on other duties conjointly with his 
colleagues, the Havaldar was never allowed to 
relegate these to any one else. Shivaji tested 
the efficiency of his Havaldars mainly in their 
proper control of the gates. Chitnis gives an 
anecdote that will bear quotation here.* One 
night Shivaji went to Panhala and knocked at 
the gates of the fort His attendants shouted 
out to the Havaldar that the Maharaja himself 
was seeking admission, hotly pursued by the 
enemy. The gates should be opened and the 
king taken in The officer came and stood on the 
rampart with his colleagues. With due humility 
the Havaldar pointed out that the king's 
regulation did not permit the gates to be opened 
at that hour. He, however, offered to check 
the enemy till morning with the help of the 
guards of the out stations, while I he Maharaja 
should wail near the gates. Then the king 
replied — " The regulations are mine and the 
order involving their breach is also mine. It 
is I who order you to open the gates.'' But the 
officer again submitted that he could not open 
the gales. Night was almost over. Till dawn 

• Ohilnii, p. 79. 

• CHitnip, p 108 8*n. fiiira Cl*h*tr*p*n, IT 220-221 




MILITARY DEPARTM KNT 



'33 



the enemy would be kept off. Then Shivaji 
tried threats. “ It is not proper.” said he. “ that 
a servant like you should not obey my orders. 
I will make an example of you.” But still the 
gates were not opened. Early in the morning 
the Havaldar unlocked and unbolted the gates 
and with clasped hands approached the king. 
‘‘I have done wrong; Your Majesty should 
punish me according to my deserts,’’ said 
the officer. But the king applauded his sense 
of duty and promoted him on the spot. The 
chronicler of Shivadigvijaya informs us that 
those who failed this test were degraded or 
dismissed. 

The Sabnis was in charge of the accounts in 
general and the muster roll in particular. The 
Karkhanis was mainly responsible for com- 
missariat work. The kanujabta of the year i, 
of the coronation era, thus enumerates their offi- 
cial duties : 

The Sabnis should be in charge of accounts. 
On each order below the seal the Karkhanis 
should pul his sign of approval. All orders of 
expenditure upon the cash and the treasury 
departments shoidd be issued by the Sabnis, and 
under the seal of the Havaldar the Karkhanis 
should put his sign of approval. The daily 
account of these two departments should be 
drawn up under the supervision of both ; the 
cash should be indicated on the account by the 




134 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THF. MARA I HAS 

Sabnis, and below the Havaldar's seal, the 
Karkhanis should put his sign of approval. 

If any order is to be issued from the 
fort to the district (under its jurisdiction ), it 
should be issued by the Sabnis. The Havaldar 
should put his seal (on it), and below the seal 
the Karkhanis should put his sign of approval. 

The muster roll of the me,n should be taken 
by the Sabnis. It should be verified by a clerk 
of the Karkhanis. In this manner was the 
work of the cash and treasury departments 
allotted. 

If any order is made upon the district for 
either cash or clothes, it should be issued under 
the seal of the Sabnis with the Karkhanis's sign 
of approval. Besides this, all orders and requisi- 
tions should be made by the Karkhanis. Any 
tax (when necessary to meet the needs of the 
fort) should be levied by the Sabnis, and the 
Karkhanis should put his sign of approval 
under the seal. 

All accounts, whether of his own or of the 
Katkhaniss department, should be explained 
by the Sabnis, whether to the Havaldar or to the 
district officer or to the central government. 
The Karkhanis should sit near the Sabnis, but 
all interrogations about their accounts should be 
made to the Sabnis. 

All correspondence with the government or ihe 
district officers, or the Sardars, or the Subhedars 




MILITARY DEPARTMENT 1 35 

or other Killedars, should be written by the 
Sabnis. The Sabnis should put his sign in them 
After the Subhedar has sealed it, the Karkhanis 
should enter it in the daily ledger He should 
not put his sign, but the letter should not be 
despatched without being recorded in the daily 
ledger. 

All inspection, and estimate of revenue of 
the province (under the jurisdiction of the fort) 
should be made by the Sabnis. This estimate 
should be entered into the accounts by the 
Karkhanis. The kaul and the order about 
the revenue should be issued by the Sabnis 
After the Havaldar has put his seal on the 
papers, the Karkhanis should put his sign of 
approval. 

All accounts of income and expenditure, 
either in weight or in approximate value 
(of commodities), should be daily made by 
the Karkhanis. After the Havaldar has put 
his seal (on the accounts), the Sabnis should put 
his sign of approval The Karkhanis should 
write all orders of expenditure upon the granary. 
After the Havaldar has sealed (them), the Sabnis 
should put his sign of approval. 

The distribution of stores, whether according 
to weight or according to approximate value, 
should be made by the Karkhanis. The Sabnis's 
Karkun should be present on the occasion for 
verification. 




1,36 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARA THAS 

All orders for goods or commodities upon the 
province (under the jurisdiction of the fort) 
should be issued by the Karkhanis. The 
Sabnis should levy contribution (when necessary). 
He should put his sign of approval after the 
I lavaldar has sealed the paper. 

The Karkhanis should take charge of female 
slaves, boy servants, horses or cattle that may 
come The Sabnis should put his sign of 
approval below the seal. If any loss occurs, the 
Karkhanis should put his sign below the seal. 

The Karkhanis should supervise the work 
when a building is constructed. The Sabnis 
should inspect the work. Cash and clothes 
should be distributed among the Karkhanis's 
men when occasion arises. It should have the 
approval of the Karkhanis. The distribution 
of grain should be made by the Karkhanis 
with the approval of the Sabnis, 

All accounts of the naval stores should be 
written by the Karkhanis s Karkuns. The work 
should be exacted by him under the supervision 
of the Sabnis.'" 0 

Thus did the three officers co-operate and 
serve as checks to one another. Not a single 
fort of Shivaji could, therefore, be betrayed to his 
enemies. But all these precautions could not 
absolutely prevent treason and corruption. 



,p M«wji a fed ParMftia, ftaaadu Uttara, pp. 130-lftt. 




MILITARY' DRPARTMRNT 137 

When Shivaji was absent in the camp of Jai 
Singh, the entire charge of the fort of 
Rajgad had, for the time being, fallen on Keso 
Narayan Sabnis, as there was no Havaldar. Keso 
Narayan Sabnis, on that occasion, misappropriated 
a large sum from public funds “ In 1663 Shivaji 
postponed an expedition to the Konkan as dis- 
quieting information of a rebellion had come from 
Sinhgad In a letter dated the 2nd April, 1663, 
Shivaji writes to Moro Trimbak Pcshwa and Abaji 
Sondev that he was thinking of marching against 
Namdar Khan in the Konkan, but news arrived 
from Sinhgad that a revolt had lately taken place 
in the fort. He had, therefore, to give up his 
project of marching into the Konkan for the 
present. The two officers were requested to 
march at once to Sinhgad with their troops and 
militia and take charge of the fort. They were 
further required to make an enquiry about the 
rebels and report their names to the king.'* 

Shivaji generally stored grains and provisions 
in large quantities in his forts for consumption 
during a siege. Towards the close of his career 
(in the year 1671-72). he decided to have a 
reserve fund to meet the extraordinary needs of 
forts beleaguered by the enemy A paper under 
his seal drawn in the San Isanne says 
that Rajashri Chhatrapati Saheb has decided 

• • KaJ •fiute VOL YUI. p. 7 . 

*• Rajwvte. M.I.a, Vol VIII, p. II 

18 




138 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MAKATHAS 

to raise money from each Mahal in his provinces 
and watans. This money should form a (reserve) 
fund, and should be spent only when war with 
Mughals would break out, and the Mughals 
lay siege to forts, and if money be not available 
from any other source ; otherwise, this money 
should not be spent for any other government work. 
So has the Saheb decided and it has been 
settled that a sum of one lakh and twenty-five 
thousand Hons should constitute the reserve fund, 
and should be raised from the following Mahals 
and personages at the following rate : 



Kudal 


... ao.ooo 


Rajapur 


... 20,000 


Kolen 


... 20,000 


Dabhol 


... 15,000 


Poona ... 


<.. 13,000 


Xagoji Govind 


... 10,000 


Jawli 


... 5 ,ooo 


Kalyan 


5,000 


Bhiwandi 


5,000 


Indapur 


... 5,oou 


Supa 


2.000 


Krishnaji Bhaskar ... 


5,000 


It has been decided that the sum of one lakh 


and twenty-five thousand 


Hons (thus raised) 



should be set aside as a reserve fund 13 

In the same year Shivaji granted a further 

•• Ktjnadu. VoL VIII, pfi. 1617. 




MILITARY DEPARTMENT 



'39 



sum of one lakh and seventy-five thousand Hons 
for repairing his principal forts. He observes 
that the workmen grew discontented as they did 
not get their wages in time. A considerable sum 
was on that account set aside for building and 
repair works alone. The sum of one hundred and 
seventy. five thousand was thus allotted. 1 * 



Sinhgad 




• • • 


'10,000 


Sindhudurg 


*»• 


»»» 


10,000 


Vijaidurg 




... 


10,000 


Suvarnadurg 


• • • 


• ■ • 


10,000 


Pratapgad 


• • • 


• • • 


10,000 


Purandhar 


• • • 


• •• 


1 0,000 


Rajgad 


• • ■ 


• • # 


10,000 


Prachandgad 


• * • 


• •• 


5,000 


Prasiddhagad 


• • • 


• •• 


5,000 


Vishalgad 


• •• 


• •• 


5,000 


Mahipatgad 


• •• 


• •• 


5,000 


Sudhagad 


• •• 


• •• 


5,000 


Lohagad 


• •• 


• •• 


5,000 


Sabalgad 




• •• 


5,000 


Shrivardhangad and 


Manaranjan 


5, ooo 


Korigad 


... 


• •• 


3,000 


Sarasgad 






2,000 


Mahidhargad 




• •• 


2,000 


Manohargad 


• •• 


• •• 


1,000 


Miscellaneous 


. • • 


••• 


7,000 
1,75, ooo 



• FUjwutr. MIS. Vol. VIII, Vp, 1Mb 




140 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OK THE MARAT HAS 

What arms of defence were supplied to these 
forts we do not precisely know. Shivaji had an 
artillery department and Ormc ,(l tells us that “He 
had previously purchased eighty pieces of cannons 
and lead sufficient for all his match-locks from 
the French Director at Surat. ' We find mention 
of matchlockmen and archers in Sabhasad's pages ; 
we have there an account of at least one dashing 
sally by Murar Baji Prabhu when Diler Khan laid 
siege to Purandhar. The enemy was sometimes 
“assailed with rockets, musket -shots, bombs and 
stones."'* Scott -Waring says that "his (Shivaji's) 
artillery was very contemptible, and he seems 
seldom to have used it but against the island of 
Gingerah." " But Shivaji's soldiers, in common 
with the Muhammadans of the Deccan, hurled a 
curious, but none the less, effective missile against 
their enemy while labouring up the steep sides 
of their inaccessible strongholds. Fryer saw “on 
the tops of the Mountains, several Fortresses of 
Seva Gi's, only defensible by Nature, needing no 
other Artillery but Stones, which they tumble 
down upon their Foes, carrying as certain des- 
truction as Bullets where they alight." '* Huge 
pieces of stone were for this purpose heaped at 
convenient stations and the Maratha soldiers 
rolled them down upon their enemy below. This 

11 Orm«, HiOorical Frm^menui, p. M 
l§ 8*rk*r, Bfeivaji ( lit Ed. ), p. 94. 

p. 102. 11 Iry*r, p, 123. 




MILITARY DEPARTMENT 



I 4 I 



could hardly check the progress of a determined 
foe ; when this preliminary defence failed, the 
Marathas sallied out sword in hand and rushed 
upon the besiegers But they did not always 
depend on their valour and gold was often used 
with very good results when steel failed. 

The Havaldar of a fort usually enjoyed a 
remuneration of 125 Hons a year. Nagoji 
Bhonsle was appointed Mudradhari of fort Utlur 
in 1680 on a salary of 150 Hons per year, out of 
which he had to pay 25 Hons to two servants 
attached to his office. Krishnaji Surevanshi 
was appointed Samovat of the above-mentioned 
fort in the same year on an annual salary of 100 
Hons. The Havaldar in charge of the buildings 
in the fort got the same pay as the Mudradhari, 
and his Mazumdar was paid at the rate of 36 
Hons per year, hour TatSarnobats were sent 
by Shivaji to take charge of the ramparts of 
Kot Utlur, and they were engaged on 4 Hons 
and 8 Kaveripak Hons (12 in all) a year Along 
with them had been despatched seven bargirs 
on a yearly pay of 9 Hons (3 ordinary Hons 
and 6 Kaveripak) per head. In a document, 
dated the 26th July, 1677, we find that Timaji 
Narayan. a clerk, was appointed as an extra 
hand for the office work in Fort Valgudanar, on 
a monthly allowance of three Hons." Besides 



t • 



lUjwado, M. |. Yol. VUI* pp. 28 * 31 - 




142 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 



the usual remuneration each officer got, accord- 
ing to his rank and the importance of his charge, 
an additional allowance for palanquin, torch- 
bearers. personal attendants, sunshades and 
pages.® 

The Ramoshis and Parwaris who kept watch 
lived outside the ramparts and got a very small 
remuneration. 



4. Infantry and C avoir y : 

The Peshwa army consisted mainly of cavalry. 
The infantry was recruited from Hindusthan and 
made but a poor impression on an Irish soldier. 
Col. W. H. Tone. Shivaji’s military genius, how- 
ever, had early perceived the necessity of light 
infantry and light cavalry' in a guerrilla war and 
hill campaign. His Mawalis and Hetkaris have 
become famous in the military annals of India. 
Selected after personal examination by Shivaji 
himself, each man was trained into an excellent 
soldier, not by drilling in the parade ground but 
by the surer method of service in an actual war. 
"Shiva Ji had no idea of allowing his soldiers' 
swords to nisi." 11 The result was that not only 
their weapons but the men who wielded them 
also gained in efficiency 



•• Chitou, p. 80 . 

** Mnfl4l'i , i 4»d IrTTBC. Tol. II. p. 308 




MILITARY DEPARTMENT 143 

Shiva ji's infantry was carefully divided into 
regiments, brigades and divisions. The smallest 
unit consisted of 9 men and the officer command- 
ing it was called the Naik. The Havaldar of the 
infantry had five such units under him Over 
two or three Havaldars was placed a Jumledar. 
The officer commanding ten jumlas was styled 
a Hazari and the Samobat of the infantry had 
seven Hazaris under him. The Jumledar had 
an annual salary of one hundred Hons and his 
Sabnis got forty. The Hazari got five hundred 
Hons per year, and his Sabnis’s salary varied 
from (me hundred to one hundred and twenty- 
five Hons.” Chitnis informs us that at the time 
of a marriage or any other ceremony of similar 
importance in the family, the officers could 
expect financial help. 

The cavalry was divided into two classes, vis., 
the bargirs and the shiledars The bargir was 
equipped with horse and arms by the state, 
while the shiledar brought his own horse and 
sometimes came with a body of troops armed 
and equipped at his own expense. The bargir 
belonged to the pnga proper, while the shiledar 
held a comparatively inferior position, “The 
strength of the paga, ” says Sabhasad, “ was 
rendered superior (to that of the shiledar), 
Shiledars were placed under the jurisdiction of 



i% Snhhiwad, ji SKI. Saw, Siva Chk*trapati. p. 33 




144 ADMINISTRATIVK SYSTEM OF THE MAKATHAS 

the paga To none was left independence 
enough for rebelling, To every horse in the 
paga was appointed a trooper (bargir) ; over 
twenty-five such bargirs was appointed an expert 
Maratha Havaldar. Five Havaldars formed a 
jumla. The Jumledar had a salary of five 
hundred Hons and a palanquin, and his Majum- 
dar a salary of one hundred to one hundred and 
twenty-five Hons. For every twenty-five horses 
were appointed a water-carrier and a farrier. A 
Hazari was a commander of ten such juinlas. 
To his office was attached a salary of one 
thousand Hons, a Mazumdar, a Maratha Karbhari 
and a Prabhu Kayastha Jamenis ; for them was 
allotted a sum of five hundred Hons. Salary 
and palanquin were given to each officer according 
to this scale. Accounts of income and expendi- 
ture were made up in the presence of all the 
four. Five such Hazaris were placed under 
a Panch Hazari. To him was given a salary of 
two thousand Hons. A Mazumdar. a Karbhari 
and a Jamenis were likewise attached to his 
office. These Panch Hazaris were under the 
command of the Sarnobat. The administration 
of the paga was of the same kind. Similarly 
the different brigadiers of the shiledars also were 
placed under the command of the Sarnobat. ’ ,,s 
Shivaji enlisted in his army not only Hindus 



«• StbHtMd. pp. 2S.29. H+n. Sirm Chh^»p*t[. pp 30 -31. 




MILITARY DEPARTMENT 



'45 



but Muhammadans also. A body of seven 
hundred Pathans offered their services to the 
Maratha king and Shivaji enlisted them, it is 
said, in opposition to the majority of his officers. 
Shivaji pointed out that a king was a king first, 
and a Hindu or Muhammadan afterwards; and 
was supported in this wise resolution by an old 
officer Gomaji Naik. Pansamba I M Shivaji knew 
quite well that an army, however efficient, could 
not be expected to operate with success in an 
enemy country, unless served by an efficient 
intelligence department. He organised a body 
of excellent spies, the chief of whom was Bahirji 
Naik Jadhav. Shivaji was so well served by these 
intelligent officers that he owed many of his 
most brilliant successes mainly to the information 
collected by them. On one occasion his army 
was saved from utter destruction by Bahirji's 
knowledge of unfrequented hill tracks. 61 

Shivaji could never expect to reach the 
numerical strength of his enemies. But he had 
detected the defects of the heavily armed 
Muhammadan soldiery and relied on speed for 
success against them. He, therefore, never allowed 
his soldiers to be encumbered with heavy arms 
or costly camp equipage. Dressed in tight- 
fitting breeches, cotton jackets and turbans, 1 * 

** Cbitoii, p. 33. Sc n, Sira Chlmttmpttt, p. 104. 

11 Habhaiad, p. #3. 8*n, 8iwt p. 130. 

Ormot Duff, Yol. U pp 181. 192. 

«9 




146 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTRM OF THE MARATHAS 



armed mainly with swords both long and short, 
spears and lances, bows and arrows and match- 
locks, depending mainly on the spoils of 
war for their subsistence, Shivaji's soldiers 
were ready to march at a moment's notice. 
They were so quick both in mobilising and 
demobilising, that their enemies could hardly 
expect to get any information of their projects 
before their actual execution. Though the 
ordinary soldier was poorly dressed, Shivaji 
indulged in great expenditure in arming and 
equipping his body. guards. This regiment was 
divided into units of 20, 30, 40, 60, and too 
men. They were equipped at state expense .and 
were given richlv embroidered turbans and 
jackets of broad-cloth, gold and silver ear-rings 
and wristlets. Their sword-sheaths, guns and 
spears had silver rings and we may guess what 
a brilliant sight they offered when marching by 
the king’s palanquin” 

Besides the regular forces Shivaji could in 
times of emergency call the feudal forces of the 
Maratha watandars. In a kaulnama, published 
in the Tritiya Sammelan Vritta of the Bharat 



** Snhh«».e|. p. fig. Sra, Sir* ChhatrnpaLi, pp 76-77 
Amonjr tbo ir-»*pon» ia I he royal armoury or Jimt Kh*n% Ragbuhnth 
Pandit noi only mentions swords, daggers, aod spaara of diffur^nt do* 
criptioiu* hut »l*o •hidds, club* (ffurguza) and b«ul» «(*•■ (ptraahu). 
The carinns res dr r will find uu exrnlisiit chapter on &rmi and aravaars 
of the Marathaj in 41 A <U*erij**on of hvUan and Origmtes l Armour . 93 By 
tho Bt Hon'bU I^rd KgerUin of Tnttnn, M.A . London, 1806 




MILITARY DEPARTMENT 



'47 



Itihas Sanshodhak Mandal, two watandars, 
Mai Patil and Baji Patil of Birvadi, offered to 
serve Shivaji, when need arose, like the Mawali 
Deshmukhs, with ten of their attendants. For 
their subsistence the watandars expected six 
Kukas or half an anna per head per diem and 
they offered to serve in the army as long as the 
occasion demanded a Unlike the later Peshwas, 
Shivaji never depended much upon these 
feudal levies, nor did he prefer the mercenary 
shiledars, who in certain respects resembled the 
condottiere of medieval Europe, to the bargirs of 
his paga. It is quite possible that when his 
power was firmly established, Shivaji did no 
longer summon these feudal forces. 

Shivaji paid his soldiers either in cash or by 
an assignment on the district governments. Me 
was entirely opposed to payment by jagir. But 
when any of his soldiers happened to be a culti- 
vator as well, the rent payable by him was 

*• B Tritijra &%mmelan TritU, p. 110. 

Tb* following a«vonnt of Shivaji'n a* tup <n;ni Ui# pm* «»f Urn 
celebrated PrAfirh Hot nrnnr Marin is certainly Interesting * Hi* 
Camp U without an j pomp and iiuembarroased by baggage nr women. 
Thee* are only two terra in it, but of a thick •irtipbi stuff, nntl Very 
am nil, — on# for li*arii*»-1 f md the other for hia minister. Tbn horsemen 
of fihimji ordinarily r»"Oefv* two pagodas por month ua pay All the 

horaon taking, to him nud he entertains grooms for them Ordina- 

rily there arc three hones for crcry Lwu meti, * Licit cun tribute* to the 

aptnd which ha usually male** This Chief pays his *pi*a Ubeiully, 

which has groaMy helpori his conquests by the oonwot information 
which tboy glee him.'' hutinn Historical fLcrords Commission. 

•ftu of Meetings, VoL 17, r . P* 




148 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF TIIF. MARATHAj 

deducted from his salary. Their pay was 
never allowed to fall in arrears as in the Feshwa 
days. As Shivaji was strictly punctual in his 
payment, it was not necessary for him to offer 
very high salaries. “For the lower officers and 
men the pay varied from Rs. 9 to 3 for the 
infantry, and Rs. 20 to 6 in the cavalry, accord- 
ing to the higher or lower rank of the soldier or 
trooper " " Officers and privates of Shivaji's 
army were liberally rewarded for distinguished 
service in war. Wounded soldiers got a special 
allowance according to the nature of their 
wounds. Widows and orphans of soldiers who 
fell in active service were liberally pensioned by 
the state and the latter, if major, were enlisted 
in the royal army In any case they could expect 
to enter Shivaji's army whenever they attained 
majority and in the mean time they were sure of 
a suitable maintenance “ Shivaji assembled all 
his soldiers after the destruction of Afzal s army 
and rewarded them in the usual manner. “The 
sons of the combatants, who had fallen in the 
action, were taken into his service. He directed 
that the widows of those who had no sons, should 
be maintained by (a pension of) half their (hus- 
band's) pay. The wounded were given rewards of 
two hundred, one hundred, fifty or twenty-five 
Hons per man according to the nature of their 

** lUbftdo, K M P.. 123. 

,0 AahHftgftd, n 'M. Son Sira Chittrupati. p. tV 




MILITARY DEPARTMENT 



'49 



wounds. Warriors of renown and commanders 
of brigades were given horses and elephants in 
reward Some were sumptuously rewarded with 
(ornaments like) bracelets, necklaces, crests, me- 
dallions, ear-rings and crests of pearl Such were 
the presents conferred on men Some were 
rewarded with grants of villages in mokasa." 
This practice of rewarding soldiers for meritorious 
services, and maintaining their widows and 
orphans by adequate pensions, was continued 
throughout the Peshwa period 

5 Military Regulations ■ 

The Maratha camp during the Peshwa period 
presented a disreputable spectacle. “ Camp," 
says Klphinstone, " presents to a European the 
idea of long lines of white tents in the trimmest 
order. To a Mahratta it presents an assemblage 
of covering, of every shape and colour, spreading 
for miles in all directions, over hill and dale, 
mixed up with tents, flags, trees, and buildings 
In Jones s * History ' march means one or more 
columns of troops and ordnance moving along 
roads, perhaps, between two hedges; in the Mah- 
ratta history horse, foot and dragoons inunda- 
ting the face of the earth for many miles on every 
side, here and there a f**w horse with a flag and a 
drum mixed with a loose and straggling mass of 
camels, elephants, bullocks, nautch-girls, fakccrs, 




150 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARA TH AS 

and buffoons ; troops and followers, lance- 
men and matchlockmen, bunyans and moota- 
suddies ."* 1 Broughton gives a no less disparaging 
picture of Sindhia s camp. Wine was publicly 
sold and public women accompanied the army to 
the prejudice of discipline and order w This was 
unthinkable in Shivaji's time. No one was allow- 
ed to keep in the camp a female slave or dancing 
girl and any breach of this rule was punished 
with death Shivaji, a lover of discipline and 
method, had drawn up for his army a set of wise 
regulations. These have been summed up by 
Sabhasad in the following lines : 

“ The army should come to cantonments in 
the home dominions during the rainy season. 
There should be kept stored grains, fodder, 
medicines, houses for men and stables for horses 
thatched with grass. As soon as the Dasra ** 
was over, the army should march out of their 
quarter. At the time of their departure, an 
inventory should be made, of the belongings of 
all the men, great or small, in the army and they 
should start on the expedition. For eight 
months, the forces should subsist (on their spoils), 
in the foreign territories. They should levy 

' 1 blpiUUittUui* li> (.•runt Huff, qiMfectl in Colcbrouka'a Life of Elpbin* 
•.to**, vn\ II, n. Iff?. 

• z brftUfffcinn, letters from * Matath* Gamp. p. 21. 

flcoU-Warin* wrongly ■uppoam " Tho faativml of tho Desaara 
wimi militated by Sovajoc," It wha an old practice of tbr TTIndu 
long* t r » i^t cn tb»ir es petition rif renqn^t cm th« Dasra day 




MILITARY DEPARTMENT 



* 5 * 



contribution. There should be no women, 
female slaves, or dancing girls in the army. He 
who would keep them, should be beheaded. In 
enemy territories, women and children should 
not be captured. Males, if found, should be cap. 
tured. Cows should not be taken. Bullocks 
should be requisitioned for transport purposes 
only. Brahmans thould not be molested ; where 
contribution had been laid, a Brahman should 
not be taken as a surety. No one should commit 
adultery. For eight months, they should be on 
expedition in foreign countries On the way back 
to the barracks in the month of Vaishakh, the 
whole army should be searched at the frontier 
of the home dominions The former inventory 
of the belongings should be produced. What- 
ever might be in excess, should be valued and 
deducted from the soldiers' salary. Things of 
very great value, if any, should be sent to the 
royal treasury. If any one secretly kept (any 
thing) and the Sardar came to know (of it), the 
Sardar should punish him. After the return of 
the army to their camp an account should be 
made, and all the Sardars should come to see 
the Raja, with gold, jewels, clothes, and other 
commodities. There all the accounts should be 
explained and the things should be delivered 
to his Majesty. If any surplus should be found 
due to the contingents, it should be asked for 
in cash from His Majesty. Then they should 




152 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MAR ATH AS 

return to the barrack. Saranjam should be given 
to the men who had worked hard in the late 
campaign. If any one had been guilty of violat- 
ing the rules or of cowardice, an enquiry should 
be made and the truth ascertained with the con- 
sensus of many and (the offender) should be 
punished with dismissal Investigation should 
be quickly made. I* or four months they should 
remain in the barracks, and on the Dasraday 
they should wait on the Raja. (Then) they 
should march out to the country, selected for the 
expedition, by the order of the Raja. Such were 
ihe rules of the army.”** 

These regulations were not designed merely 
to figure in the statute book, but were strictly 
enforced. While passing through the kingdom 
of Golkonda on his way to Tanjore. Shivaji had 
ordered his soldiers not to harass the people in 
any way. Whatever they wanted was obtained 
by peaceful purchase and any breach of law was 
severely punished. Sabhasad tells us that 
Shivaji on this occasion had made examples of a 
few offenders to intimidate others, and his 
severity had the desired effect. But the spirit of 
the times was not favourable to strict discipline, 1 * 

'• HhktjhAwH, pp. 29-90 Mon. 8ir»chlintr»p»tf, pp Sl-U. 

11 fVom preamble of a treaty it appear# that Bhlvftji'a men ha d 
tarried away a number of man, woman, cbild/eo, cattle beside* Irampon 
bollocks from Portu£*3Ma territorial tn contravention of sfcivaji’fl 
military regulation!. Bee Biker, Coflerca# dr Trntado*, Tr»mo, IT, 
pp. 131432 and Ben. Butoncel Record* at Ooa, p. 10. 




MILITARY DEPARTMENT 



>53 



and although Shivaji's ‘.pics seldom failed to bring 
to his notice all cases of violence and fraud," 
yet it was impossible for him to put a stop to 
military excesses. In a letter dated the 8th 
September, 1671, we read how a Maratha soldier 
had attacked the Sabnis of his regiment with a 
naked sword ” On the 23rd July of the next 
year Shhraji wrote to Dattaji Tant Waknis that 
the soldiers gave trouble to the pilgrims of the 
Chaphal fair.” At Chaphal lived Ramdas, Shivaji’s 
spiritual guide. He was revered throughout 
Maharashtra as a great saint and an incarnation 
of the monkey-god Maruti If soldiers did not 
behave properly in the precincts of Ramdas’s 
temple, wc may easily imagine to what extremes 
their insolence carried them at safer places. 
Shivaji, however, could not achieve the impossible. 
His countrymen had before them the example of 
the Bijapur army, where discipline was conspi- 
cuous by its absence. Shivaji placed before them a 
high ideal, but an ideal cannot always be forced 
on ah unwilling people at the point of sword. 
None the less, the great Maratha leader never 
failed to harangue his soldiers about their duties 
and responsibilities. In the year 1676 he came 
to learn that the regiment encamped at Chiplun 

*• Tic had unmberl*** informer! about bit troop*; no thnl if thej 
kept Imck 1107 moiMtjr or goods from account, he forced them to fftr* 
them tip. Scott, Hi§t. cf the Dei k an, Yol. II, p 55. 

* f Rnjwada, Vol VIII. p. 30. 

M BlwiI* Sajjangad-w* flamaTtha Ramdaa, p. 122 



20 




154 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OK THE MAKATHAS 

had given great troubles to the people of 
the neighbourhood. The troops were short of 
provision and took by force what they wanted. 
Shivaji, therefore, issued a circular to the 
|umledars, Havaldars, and Karkuns of the army 
reminding them that it was their duty to store 
sufficient provision in time. “ If grain, bread, 
grass and vegetable' were forcibly taken away 
from the peasant, they would desert the locality 
Some of them would die of starvation and your 
presence would be more unwelcome than that of 
the Mughals." “ Do not give the rayat the 
least trouble, ' continues Shivaji, “you have no 
need to stray out of your camping places 
Money has been given to you from the govern- 
ment treasury. Whatever any soldier may want, 
either grain or vegetable or fodder for the 
animals, should be purchased from the market. 
Violence should not be offered to any one 
on any account." The remarkable document 
fully illustrates Shivaji’s anxiety for the welfare 
of his people and the good name of his soldiers. 
The last portion of the letter shows how the 
minutest details of the army administration did 
not escape his notice. 1 Ic admonishes his officers 
to take special precaution against fire. Sol- 
diers were not to smoke or cook near the hay- 
stacks and lamps were to be put out before the 
men went to bed lest mice dragged the burning 
wicks and set fire to the haystacks. " If the 




MILITARY' D E PA R T M ENT I 55 

haystacks were burnt the necessary hay could 
not be procured even if the Kunbis were de- 
capitated and the Karkuns harassed. The horses 
would die of hunger and the cavalry would be 
ruined.’’ * Shivaji knew everything about his 
army, its needs and requirements, lie was 
anxious to secure the welfare of his people and he 
tried his best to protect them from the violence 
of his soldiers. We should not be too severe 
with him if instances of tyranny or oppression 
took place inspite of his vigilance. We should 
judge him by what he attempted and not by 
what he achieved ; although his achievements 
were by no means small. 

Inspite of his defects the Maratha soldier was 
a fine fellow. Of short stature and light built 
he was man for man inferior to the tall and 
stout Mughal and Deccan: Mussulman. But his 
courage, hardihood, wonderful energy, presence 
of mind and agility more than compensated for 
his physical inferiority Demoralised by the 
tactics of their elusive adversary, the Bija- 
puris and the Mughals at last failed to meet him 
even in the open field on equal terms. Fryer’s 
comparison of the two armies well illustrates 
the merits and demerits of the contending 
forces as they struck an intelligent foreign 
observer. Says the Docter, 40 “ Sew Grs Men 

*• Kfljwmbi, M.us.. Vo! VIII, pp. 

*" Prjrer, (1 17S. 




156 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OI- THE MARATHAS 

thereby being fitter for any Martial Exploit, 
having been accustomed to Fare Hard, Journey 
Fast, and take little Pleasure. But the other 
will miss of a Booty rather than a Dinner ; 
must mount in state and have their Arms 
carried before them, and their Women not far 
behind them, with the Masters of Mirth and 
Jollity ; will rather expect than pursue a Foe ; 
but then they stand it out better ; for Seva Gi's 
Men care not much for a pitched Field, though 
they are good at Surprizing and Ransacking ; yet 
agree in this, that they arc both of stirring 
Spirits. ” It is remarkable that the same love of 

luxury and comfort characterised the Maratha 
officers at Panipat. While Shivaji did not allow 
" Whores and Dancing Wenches in his army,” 41 
the Maratha army at Panipat was encumbered 
with a large number of women. Broughton says 
of Daulat Rao Sindhia’s soldiers that, “such as 
think that life is bestowed for superior enjoy- 
ments and have a taste for more spirited modes 
of whiling it away, retire, at the approach of 
evening, to the arrack shop, or the tent of the 
prostitute ; and revel through the night in a 
state of low debauchery which could hardly be 
envied by the keenest votary of Comus and his 
beastly crew ' 4i Shivaji's successors had for 
reasons best known to them suffered these salutary 



• 1 



Fryer, p. 174 



1 9 Uroiigbioit, ifl 




MILITARY DEPARTMENT 157 

regulations to lapse and the result was disastrous 
for their army and themselves. The Maratha 
soldiers declined in morale, discipline and alert- 
ness that had made them so formidable under 
Shivaji's leadership. 




CHAPTER IV 

Organisation of«thb Navy 

Soon after his conquest of the Konkan, Shivaji 
found it necessary to organise a navy strong 
enough to check the raids of the Siddi's fleet on 
his coast His fleet consisted mainly of Gallivftts 
and Ghurabs as well as many river crafts of 
various description Sabhasad tells 1 us that no 
less than four hundred Ghurabs, Tarandes, Tarus, 
Gallivats, Shibads and Pagars were built and 
organised into two squadrons of 200 vessels 
Each squadron was placed under the supreme 
command of an Admiral, Dariya Sarang, a 
Muhammadan officer, and Mai Naik, a Bhan- 
dari. Dariya Sarang was not the only 
Muhammadan officer in Shivaji’s fleet. Another 
prominent Muhammadan Admiral, Daulat Khan 
by name, entered Shivaji’s service a few years 
later. The fleet was in all probability manned 
mainly by the Kolis nnd other sea-faring tribes 
of the Malabar coast. What was their uniform, 
or whether they had any, we do not know. At 



' Sabhnsail, p. Sou, Sira Chb«li-*»»ll, pp, 08-01 




ORGANISATION OF THE NAVY 159 

Malwan, the principal port of Shivaji, there is a 
statue of the Maratha hero with the peculiar 
Koli hat on his head.* It will not, therefore, be 
unfair to suppose that the sailors of Shivaji's 
fleet generally wore a similar headgear. 

Sabhasad tells us that Shivaji’s fleet not only 
harassed the indigenous sea powers of the south, 
but also plundered the ships and possessions of 
such European powers as the Portuguese, the 
Dutch and the English. That Shivaji’s navy 
was a menace to these traders is quite true, 
but he was not so fortunate in his naval as in 
his military organisation. He could hardly hold 
his own against the Siddis in the sea and the 
numerical strength of his fleet was perhaps 
highly exaggerated by his son’s court historian. 
Robert Orme informs us that " The fleet 
of Scvagi had by this time ( 1675 ) been 
increased to fifty-seven sail, of which 

fifteen were grabs, the rest gallivats, all 
crowded with men.”’ Fryer saw on his 
way to “ Serapatan (Kharepatan), to the South 
of Dan de Rajpore , a Strong Castle of Seva 
Gi's defended a deep Bay, where rode his Navy, 
consisting of 30 Small Ships and Vessels, 
the Admiral wearing a White Flag aloft." 4 
Prof. Jadunath Sarkar* points out "that the 

* 8*6 1 takas Sruipraha, Spin* la Lskha, p. 1 

1 Orme, IlintoHcul Fragment*, p 53. 

• Trjtr, p. 145 • Sarkar. Bhirajf, p. 33fl. 




160 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MAR ATH VS 

English reports never put their number above 
160, and usually as 60 only. ' In all pro- 
bability Shivaji’s men-of-war did not exceed 
200 in number, but hr had a Large mercantile 
navy. On land Shivaji depended more on the 
quality than on the number of his men, on the 
sea, however, his fleet was decidedly inferior to 
that of the English in efficiency, though not in 
number. The President of the Surat Factory 
was of opinion that " one good English ship 
would destroy a hundred of them without running 
herself into great danger This weakness was 
mainly due to the lack of good artillery as well 
as the want of a naval tradition. 

The main strength of the Maratha fleet con- 
sisted in the gallivats and the ghurabs, vessels 
peculiar to the Malabar coast. The ghurabs 
and the gallivats of the Angria’s fleet have been 
thus described by Robert Ortne “ The grabs 
have rarely more than two masts, although some 
have three ; those of three arc about 300 tons 
burthen ; but the others are not more than 
150 : they are built to draw very little water, 
being very broad in proportion to their length, 
narrowing however from the middle to the end, 
where instead of bows they have a prow, project- 
ing like that of a Mediterranean galley, and 
covered with a strong deck level with the main 

• (P. R. Har»l, HG, ao Sou) qa^.l la Sarkar'. ShimJI, p. 3<®. 

1 Militftfy TnMlMftlcmft (2nd Ed.), Vot, I, pp. 




ORGANISATION OP IHK NAVY l6l 

deck of the vessel, from which, however, it is 
separated by a bulkhead which terminates the 
fore-castle : as this construction subjects the 

grab to pitch violently when sailing against a 
head sea, the deck of the prow is not enclosed 
with sides as the rest of the vessel is. but remains 
bare, that the water which dashes upon it may 
pass off without interruption : on the main deck 
under the fore-castle are mounted two pieces of 
cannon of nine or twelve pounders, which point 
forwards through the port holes cut in the bulk- 
head, and fire over the prow ; the cannon of the 
broadside are from six to nine pounders. The 
gallivats are large row-boats built like the grab, 
but of smaller dimensions, the Largest rarely 
exceeding 70 tons ; they have two masts of which 
the mizen is very slight ; the main mast bears 
only one sail, which is triangular and very large, 
the peak of it when hoisted being much higher 
than the mast itself. In general the gallivats 
are covered with a spar deck, made for lightness 
of bamboos split, and these only carry pcttcrarocs 
fixed on swivels in the gunnel of the vessel; but 
those of the largest size have a fixed deck on 
which they mount six or eight pieces of cannon, 
from two to four pounders: they have forty or 
fifty stout oars and may he rowed four miles an 
hour. ” It is not difficult to understand why such 
clumsy vessels manned by inexperienced sailors 
should not be able to contend with the English 
21 




1 62 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 

on their peculiar element on equal terms. But 
we should note that Shivaji's sailors had on 
more than one occasion attacked Portuguese 
men-of-war with success. 

Of the other vessels mentioned by Sabhasad 
the iarande was a sailing vessel of large dimen* 
sion ; the shibad was a flat-bottomed two-masted 
craft without any deck, and the pagar was only 
a well smoothed canoe. Most probably some of 
these crafts belonged to the mercantile navy, It 
may not be out of place to note here that Shivaji 
had a strong mercantile fleet that plied between 
his ports and the coast towns of Arabia. Unlike 
many of his contemporaries the great Maratha 
had realised that a strong naval power without 
a strong mercantile navy was an impossibility. 

Besides doing police work against Ihc Siddi’s 
pirate fleet Shivaji's navy was also employed in 
taking possession of foreign vessels wrecked on 
his coast and collecting duties from trading 
ships. In Shivaji's time it was considered the 
duty of the state to regulate prices of articles. 1 ' 
This was done mainly by regulating export and 
import duties. 

The naval spirit roused by Shivaji did not 
die with him. The Angrias maintained the 
naval reputation of Maharashtra till the destruc- 
tion of their fleet by the combined efforts 



• lUJwa'Ip. V. L VIII. pp. 21-20. 




ORGANISATION OF THE NAVY 163 

of the Peshwa and the English. The Peshwas 
also had a strong fleet for defending the western 
coast. The mercantile spirit of the Maratha 
traders also found a greater scope with the expan- 
sion of the Maratha empire. In Shivaji’s time 
merchant-men plied between Arabia and the 
Malabar coast ; during the Peshwa period the 
Maratha traders actually settled in Arabian coast 
towns like Muscat® and their trading vessels 
visited China. The naval policy of Shivaji 
therefore bore ample fruit, though long after 
the Maratha Alfred had passed away. 

* R-p Dock. 11. 




CHAPTER V 



Other Aspects ok Administration 

/. At/ministration of Justice . 

Shivaji’s Maharashtra still retained her simple 
primitive method of administering justice. Ela- 
borate rules of procedure, volumes of codified 
law, costly court houses were absolutely un- 
known. The village ciders met in the Patil’s 
office or before the village temple or under the 
spreading branches of a sacred fig tree to hear 
civil suits and administer common-sense justice. 
Some of these amateur judges were certainly 
illiterate, for they put their signs of nongar, 
tagri, ghana, or katyar whenever a signature was 
necessary. But they must have been conversant 
with the customary laws of their land. The 
balutas or village artisans were frequently sum- 
moned before the Panchayet to aid the judges 
with their invaluable knowledge of village history 
or tradition. But when no evidence was avail- 
able, divine aid was freely invoked and the 
Marathas of those days had so much faith in the 
potency of truth that they fearlessly and some- 
times with impunity grasped a red hot iron ball 




OTHF.R ASPECTS OF ADMINISTRATION 165 

and plunged their hand into boiling ghi or oil 
to draw out a piece of metal or ‘ rava.’ These 
were not the only popular ordeals ; ordeals by 
water, libation water, lamp and circumambulation 
of a sacred temple, were also known. The 
unknown author of Shivaji Pratap describes a 
peculiar ordeal of which we find no other instance. 
In an alleged case af adultery, two drops of blood, 
one each from the veins of the man and the 
woman, were taken and dropped into a cauldron 
full of boiling oil. But lol they would not 
mingle ; so the lady was honourably acquitted. 
For all we know this ordeal possibly had never 
been practised. 

Criminal cases were heard in the first instance 
by the Patil, a gentleman without much learning 
and hence unlikely to be familiar with the 
injunctions of the old Hindu law-givers like 
Manu and Yajnavalkya. But the Brahman 
Nyayadhish who heard appeals in both civil and 
criminal suits was as a matter of course well 
versed in the shastras. The Hazir Majalasis to 
hear final appeals perhaps met more often in the 
days of Shivaji and his immediate successors than 
during the Peshwa regime. And we very frequently 
come across two functionaries who seem to have 
silently slipped away from existence during the 
Peshwa days. These were the Sabha Naik or 
Judge President and the Mahaprashnika or Chief 
Interrogator whose duty appears to have been 




166 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OK Tl! E MAHATMAS 



to examine and cross-examine the parties. 
Whether they were elected by their brother 
judges or nominated by the king we do not know. 
Perhaps an elderly member who commanded the 
respect of his co-villagers, assumed some sort of 
superiority over others as a matter of course and 
a younger member of the Panchayet perhaps 
volunteered to examine the parties in order to 
save his colleagues from that trouble. 1 

2. Education : 

Shivaji fostered and encouraged education 
in an indirect way. There was no organised edu- 
cation department under him State-founded 
or stale-aided schools were unknown. Learned 
scholars as in the days of yore attracted eager 
students from all parts of the country and the 
schools which thus grew formed the only centres 
of culture. Shivaji indirectly encouraged the 
foundation of these schools by making large 
grants in money or land to all the distinguished 
scholars of his time. Similar grants were made 
to physicians of note irrespective of their caste 
and creed and so the votaries of the science of 
medicine were permitted to carry on their studies 
and humanitarian endeavours in comparative ease 
and security. It was one of the duties of the 

1 Tie old mc4hod of titiminiitcriiiff jnrtice wa> pnicticully un- 
hftccUd b J the riiw of tbe Pe«l wound will le at a grcatoi* 

leogtb in Book II. 




OTHER ASPECTS OF ADMINISTRATION 167 

Pandit Rao to test the merit of and assign a 
proper inam to the deserving candidates. This 
system of Dakshana grant for the encouragement 
of learning has survived Shivaji and the Peshwas. 

Many poets and literary men were attracted 
to Shivaji’s court. Among them the most well 
known was Bhushan the Hindi poet Jayaram 
the author of Parrr.il Paroat Grahanakhyan and 
Paramananda the author of Shiva Bharat wrote in 
Sanskrit. Their poetical efforts were munificently 
rewarded as were those of the celebrated ballad 
writers of the time, Ajnandas and Tulshidas. 

j. Shivaji’s Achievements : 

We have seen that the civil and the military 
regulations of Shivaji had been framed mainly 
to meet the needs of his times and in this respect 
they were eminently successful. Engaged in 
a life-long war against his Muhammadan neigh- 
bours, Shivaji could not give his people that 
peace and tranquillity so necessary for the growth 
of commerce and industry. But lie had reformed 
the revenue system of his kingdom, organised 
a careful survey of his lands, and substituted a 
fairly enlightened and efficient government for 
the tyranny of semi-independent revenue officers. 
He had organised an army that shattered the 
foundation of the Mughal Empire in the South. 
He was the father of the Maratha navy and the 
mercantile policy inaugurated by him had a very 




1 68 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF I'HF. MAR ATH AS 



bright future Born in 1627 he died at the age of 
fifty-three only, and during the short reign of 
thirty-five years he had not only founded a king- 
dom but created a nation. Yet we cannot admit 
that Shivaji was the most original of Indian rulers. 
For his revenue policy he was indebted to Malik 
Ambar. Some of his military regulations were 
copied from the Adilshahi code, and the system 
of branding horses of the cavalry was known in 
Hindustan even in Allauddin Khilji’s time. 
Shivaji however enforced strict method where 
formerly there was a lack of it. The slightest 
irregularity did not escape his keen eyes and in 
personal attention to the minute details of he 
government perhaps he was not inferior to his 
great Mughal rival. We find him framing regula- 
tions about the proper style of official letters, we 
find him deliberating about the necessity of 
punctual payment of masons. He urges his 
cavalry officers to beware of the careless use of 
fire in the camp. They arc warned to be more 
careful about storing hay and fodder for their 
animals. To the governor of a port he issues 
instructions for regulating the price of salt and 
nuts, and we cannot but wonder when we find the 
same man starting a literary movement which 
so vitally influenced the character of Marathi 
language. He employed an erudite scholar to 
find out Sanskrit synonyms for current Persian 
words and the Rajvyatnhar Kosh was compiled. 




OTHKK ASPECTS OF AOM IN l ST RATION 169 

It has often been asked why did so many of 
Shivaji's institutions fail to survive him. Prof. 
Jadunath Sarkar attributes his failure to build 
up an enduring state mainly to caste rivalry. 
The caste system is not new to India and what- 
ever may be its effects on the Maratha state, it 
cannot be said that the fate of Shivaji's civil 
and military institutions was much affected by 
it. The great bane of the country had been 
feudalism or the jagir system and this flourished 
in spite of caste rivalry. Shivaji had tried his 
best to abolish feudalism, but the great defect 
of his government was its autocratic character. 
Its success depended on the man at the helm. 
Sambhaji was an incompetent ruler and it did 
not take him long to undo his father's work. 
Rajaram was unable to effect or attempt any 
reform. Driven from his paternal home and 
besieged in the fort of Jinji, he had to conciliate 
his friends in all possible ways. His officers 
offered to conquer principalities in enemy posses- 
sion on the sole condition that they should be 
allowed to hold their conquest in jagir. Thus 
Rajaram helped to revive feudalism and once it 
was revived, Shivaji's institutions were doomed to 
extinction. In the turmoil of war every law was 
held in abeyance and when a new order dawned 
after the struggle for existence was over, 
Shivaji’s institutions had become a memory. 
Further concessions to the feudal chiefs had to 



22 




I 70 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OK THE MARATHAS 

be made during the civil war between Shahu 
and his Kolhapur cousin. And although feudalism 
was in theory condemned in a work on polity 
attributed to Ratnchandra Pant Amatya, in 
practice every thing was done to foster its 
growth. After the death of Shahu the monarchy 
suffered still more in power and prestige and the 
Peshwas became the real heads of the state. 
But they did not or could not suppress the ever- 
growing feudal tendencies and created, either from 
policy or from need, new fiefs for their friends 
and followers. The result was that the central 
government grew weaker as the feudal chiefs 
waxed stronger and ultimately the whole fabric 
collapsed with a tremendous crash at Lhe 
slightest collision with a western power. Both 
the Brahman and the Non-Brahman Barons 
equally contributed to that collapse and caste 
prejudices had very little to do with the decline 
and fall of the Maratha empire. Shivaji's civil 
institutions disappeared with the rejection of his 
ideal. 




BOOK II 

THE ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF 
THE PESHWAS 




INTRODUCTION 
Sources of Information 
/. Original Marathi Sources: 

We tread on firmer ground when we come to 
the Peshwa period. Under the able leadership 
of the Bhat Peshwas, the Maratha empire rapidly 
expanded, the Maratha heroes carried their victori- 
ous banner from one end of India to the other, and 
the hoarded wealth of Hindustan filled the coffers 
of the southern warriors. Prosperity and wealth 
naturally spurred the literary activities of the 
Marathas and numerous bakhars were written to 
immortalise the valiant achievements not only 
of the Peshwa and Shahu Chhatrapati but of 
lesser chiefs as well. The Dabhades, the 
Gaikwads, the Bhonsles, the Patwardhans, the 
Smdhia and the Ilolkar, all found or employed 
some able chronicler to compile the history of 
their respective families. 1 Two chronicles of 
the Panipat disaster have come down to us 
and the famous prince who led the Maratha 

• A lui of Ulo»c chroniafea will be found in 
llihr-a nelim Sakir»u, compiled by Q. 6. Serdeesi, T. 8. Shejevalknr, 
V, Aplc and V, 8, Valtaikii’. 




174 administrative system ok the marathas 



army on that fateful day was not left without a 
biography. As in the old days stirring accounts 
of national triumphs and national disasters were 
supplied by those popular bards— the shahirs, 
who wrote not for the learned few but for the 
teeming masses toiling in the fields and forests, 
hills and dales, towns and hamlets of the Maratha 
country. But fortunately we have not to rely on 
the beautiful ballads of the shahirs or on the 
charming narrative of the chroniclers for an 
account of the administrative institutions of the 
Peshwas. We have more reliable materials in 
the contemporary records and state papers, care- 
fully and methodically preserved in the Husur 
Daftar or imperial secretariat at Poona. 

The Peshwa Daftar of Poona has not yet 
been thrown open to the general public, but the 
inquisitive student gets a glimpse of its treasures 
in the valuable selections published by the 
Deccan Vernacular Translation Society under 
the able editorship of a band of erudite scholars. 
The selections were made by Kao Bahadur 
Ganesh Chirnnaji Wad, but they were published 
after his death. The nine volumes of Selections 
from the Satara Rajas’ and the Peshwas ' Diaries 
edited by Parasnis. Sane. Marathe and Joshi 
supply information about all the branches of the 
Peshwas’ Government, their social and religious 
activities not excluded, as the following headings 
and subheadings under which the papers ol the 




SOURCES Oh INFORMATION >75. 

second Baji Rao's regime have been arranged 
will show : 

1. Political Matters 

2. Military Administration 
(*) Army 

(**) Forts 

3. Land Revepue and its administration 
(t) Survey and assessment of land 

(ri) Mamlatdars, Kamavisdars, Farmers of 
land revenue and khots 

4. Other Taxes 

Taxes on sales and purchases of 
things 

5. Village and district Watandars 

6. Other revenue officers 

7. Administration of Justice 

(i) Civil 
(it) Criminal 

(a) Conspiracy and treason 

( b ) Murder and suicide 

(c) Dacoity 
(</) Forgery 
(<?) Adultery 

(/) Miscellaneous offences 
(?k) Police 
(«•) Prison 

8. Misconduct of Government officers and 

Jagirdars 




176 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 

9. Grants and continuance of Inams, Allow- 

ances, Watans, etc. 

(t) Grants 

(<*) For service done or injury received 
or as a mark of favour 
(A) For charitable purposes and in 
fulfilment of vows 

10. Postal service 

1 1. Medicine and surgery 

12. Mint and coins 

13. Prices and wages 

14. Slaves 

1 5. Religious and Social matters 

16. Public Festivals 

17. Poona and its suburbs 

18. The Peshwa’s tour 

It is needless to add that in these selections 
not a single department of the Poona government 
has been left unillustrated and no student of the 
Maratha administrative system can do without 
these nine volumes of the Peskvas' Diaries . They 
are however not without defects as was pointed 
out by Mr. V. K. Rajwade. For unavoidable 
reasons, over which the editors had no control, 
some of the papers have not been published in 
full, and the uninitiated reader sometimes finds 
it difficult to grasp the purport of a mutilated 
record. The English summaries given in the 




SOURCES OF INFORMATION 177 

footnote are not only very brief but sometimes 
hopelessly inaccurate. Kao Bahadur D. B. 
Parasnis further drew upon the Poona records 
and published two more volumes in his Itihas 
Sangraha. Pcshvsc Daftaratil Nivadak Kagad 
Patre deals with military matters alone and 
Peshwe Daftaratil Sanada Patre throws fresh 
light on both the civil and the military branches 
of the administration. I may here add that the 
seven volumes of Itihas Sangraha abound in 
original records of the greatest importance. 

To Rao Bahadur D. B. Parasnis and Mr. P. 
V. Mawji we are indebted for four volumes of 
Selections from the Government Records in the 
Alienation Office of Poona , vis., Sanads and 
Letters, Vatan Patre A ’had Patre, Kaifyatyadi 
and Treaties and Agreements. Many valuable 
papers have been published in Parasnis's Bharat - 
varsha, Rajwade's Marat hyanchya Itihasanchi 
Sadhanen, Sane’s Patre Yadi Bagaire, the 
Akavals and Itivnttas of the Bharat Itihas Sansho- 
dhak Mandal and the Itihas Ani Aitihasik 

It is impossible to deal exhaustively with all 
the publications on this comprehensive subject 
within the short compass of a small chapter, 
but the works of the late Vasudev Shastri Vaman 
Shastri Khare of Miraj deserv e more than a passing 
notice. He is by no means the only scholar to 
bring to light the important family papers of the 
Sardars and Jagirdars. K. N. Sane and V, K. 
a 3 




I 78 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 

Raj wade were his predecessors in this line and 
Mr. Apte, the editor of the Chandrachud Da/tar 
is expected to be an able successor. But 
neither Sane nor Rajwade deemed it necessary to 
arrange chronologically the papers they were 
going to publish. The records were placed 
before the public as they were discovered without 
any arrangement and the absence of an index 
only adds to the difficulties of the student who 
has to grope through these volumes for any 
particular information. Vasudeb Shastri Khare s 
Ai/ihasii Lc.kha Sangraha, the twelfth volume of 
which was posthumously published a few months 
ago, offers to the wearied reader an agreeable 
surprise. The records are chronologically 
arranged and although no index is supplied its 
absence is more than compensated by an excel- 
lent introduction to each section which informs 
the reader what the succeeding papers have to 
tell him. In these twelve volumes the late 
Pandit Kharc published for the first time the 
important papers of the Patwardhan chiefs who 
served for all practical purposes as the Wardens 
of the Southern Marches for so many years. No 
less important to the student of the administra- 
tive system of the Peshwas is K hare's Ichalka. 
ranji Sansthatuha Itihas. A very useful compi- 
lation is Mr. Apte s Itihas Manjari in which 
almost all the more important published docu- 
ments have been included. 




SOURCE’S OF INFORMATION 



•79 



2. Modern Marathi Works : 

From these old records we may for a short 
while turn to biographical and historical works 
of modem Maratha scholars. The foremost 
place in this section must be assigned to 
Mr. G. S. Sardcsai's Marathi Riyasat the fifth 
volume of which is shortly expected. Among 
the biographies may be mentioned Natu’s Life 
of Mahadaji Sindhia, Vasudcv Shastri Khare’s 
Nana Fadnavis, Atres Malhar Rao Holkar, 
Rajadhyaksha’s Jivba l)ada Bakshi and Parasnis's 
Brahmendra Swami. In the appendices of the 
last two works have been published some impor- 
tant contemporary letters not available elsewhere. 
Bapat’s Life of the first Baji Kao is a popular 
work which docs not aim at historical accuracy 
and space docs not permit me to mention other 
works of this type. Acre's Ganv Gada deals 
with village communities and Kclkar's Maratha 
va Ingraj treats among other subjects of the 
administrative system. 

J. Portuguese and Persian : 

The Portuguese records, though specially im- 
portant for military and the naval organisation of 
the Marathas, occasionally give us an insight into 
the religious, commercial and domestic policy 
of the Peshwas The later Persian histories 




l8o ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 



and Rajput Hindi, and Gurumukhi records are 
important to a student of the political history 
of the Marathas. lie cannot afford to be 
indifferent to such works as Siyaru-l Mutakhirin 
or Ibratnama , but these are not so indispensable 
to a student of the administrative system, though 
a knowledge of the Muhammadan revenue 
system prevailing in the neighbouring provinces 
is always helpful. 

4 English Sources 

Next in importance to the Maratha records 
are the published and unpublished English 
records. To the unpublished English papers in 
the Imperial Records Department I can here make 
only a passing reference. We get there a de. 
tailed account of the Peshwa's revenue compiled 
by no less a personage than Elphinstone about 
four years before the final collapse of the Peshwa's 
powers. We may sometimes learn a good deal 
about the popular superstitions of the times from 
the confidential reports of the English diplomats. 
Rut for our purpose the most important document 
is Elphinstone’s Report on the Territories recently 
conquered from the Paishva. This is a veritable 
mine of information and as Elphinstone had 
personal knowledge of the Maratha administration, 
his views command our greatest respect. But 
unfortunately he saw the Peshwa’s government 
at Us worst and probably all his remarks were 




SOURCES OF INFORMATION l8l 

not equally applicable to the better days of Nana 
Fadnavis and Madhava Rao I. Jenkins's Report 
on the Territories of the Rajah of Nag pore is an 
official document of great interest and equally- 
interesting is the second volume of Malcolm's 
Central India. Wellington's and Wellesley's 
published despatches throw only occasional 
sidelight on the .administrative system of the 
Marathas and so do the works of those Knglish 
travellers and officials who had occasion to pass 
through the Maratha country. Fitzclarence's 
A Journey through India, Brougthon's Letters 
written in a Maratha Camp, Moor's A Narrative 
of the Operations of Capt. Little's Detachment 
and Valentia's Voyages and Travels may be men- 
tioned in this connection, but it is impossible to 
mention here all works of this nature. Forbes's 
Oriental Memoirs, however, is too important to 
be silently passed over, lie spent the major 
part of his life in Western India and was a keen 
observer of human affairs. The Maratha records 
generally lay down the principles, but they do not 
always inform us to what extent these principles 
were respected in practice. This deficiency is 
made up by the accounts of such foreign observers 
as Moor and Forbes, although we have to 
make some allowance for their obvious bias and 
prejudice. For the military organisation of the 
Marathas we get invaluable information from such 
English writers as Thom, Blacker. Prinsep, 




1 82 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 

Compton and Lewis Ferdinand Smith, while a 
very interesting account of the Angria’s navy has 
been supplied by Clement Dunning, whose History 
of the Indian Wars was published as early as 
1 737- Space does not permit me to enter into a 
critical examination of these works here and I 
can only barely mention such well-known works as 
Grant Duff's History of the Mahrattas, Forrest's 
Selections from Statepapers and Ranade's Intro- 
duction ( 0 th e Satara Rajas' and Peskwas ' 
Diaries. 

This chapter should not be considered 
exhaustive. It aims to indicate the nature of the 
materials used in the following pages, and it is 
expected to be helpful to students who seek 
further information on the subject. 




CHAPTER 1 

The Period ok Transition 

In their politic*! aims and ideals the Pcshwas 
differed from the founder of the Maratha great- 
ness. Shivaji tried to organise a genuine national 
movement, and as the avowed leader of the 
regenerated Hindus of the south, he could not 
even in theory acknowledge the supremacy of 
the great Mughal. Consequently when he had to 
submit to the terms imposed on him by Raja 
Jai Singh, he got the stipulated nansab for his 
son Sambhaji, then a boy of seven, but did 
not degrade himself to the position of a Mughal 
vumsabdar. This distinction will appear as too 
subtle to the modem mind, but it succeeded in 
soothing the easy scruples of a time when con- 
science was not so rigorous and exacting. After 
his coronation he tried his utmost to wipe off all 
traces of Muhammadan influence from his 
government and his old officers got new Sanskrit 
designations. Sambhaji cared only for pleasure, 
and during the stormy days succeeding his death, 
the Marathas were too busy to care for these 
comparatively minor things ; they had to fight 
for their existence. 




184 ADMINISTRATIVE SYSTEM OF THE MARATHAS 

Shahu, however, was brought up by the 
Grand Mughal in the Mughal court. He had 
witnessed the splendour of that court in its palmy 
days, and was dazzled, hypnotised, almost blinded 
by the Mughal sun, the great Alamgir, whom he 
had seen face to face. When Shahu returned 
to occupy his ancestral throne, he was not in a 
position to appreciate the true significance of the 
great movement of which his celebrated grand- 
father was the leader. In his childhood he must 
have heard from his Mughal teachers that the 
•mountain rat ’ was nothing but a powerful bandit. 
He could understand Shivaji the empire-builder, 
but Shivaji the national leader was to him an 
enigma, a mystery not even vaguely understood, 
and he did not hesitate to accept a mansaboi 10,000 
from the feeble hands of Farrukhsiyar. Shahu 
promised to pay to the imperial treasury an annual 
tribute 11 for the Surdeshmookhee or ten per cent. 
-)[ the whole revenue, he bound himself to protect 
the country, to suppress every species of depre- 
dation, to bring thieves to punishment, or restore 
the amount stolen, and to pay the usual fee of six 
hundred and fifty-one per cent, on the annual 
income, for the hereditary right of Surdeshmookh : 
for the grant of the Chouth, he agreed to maintain 
a body of 15,000 horse in the Emperor's service 
to be placed at the disposal of the Soobehdars, 
Foujdars and officers in the different districts ; 
but upon the grant of the Chouth, no fee was to 




THE PERIOD OP TRANSITION 185 

be paid. The Carnatic and the Soobehs of Beeja- 
poor and Hyderabad, which were then overrun 
by the partisans of Sumbhajee, Raja of Kolapoor. 
Shao promised to clear of plunderers and to make 
good every loss sustained by the inhabitants of 
those provinces from the date of the final settle- 
ment of the treaty.” 1 

This arrangement was no doubt convenient to 
him in more than one way, but it was not merely 
expediency that led Shahu to make a formal 
acknowledgment of the Mughal supremacy 
when he was in a position to defy it most effect- 
ively. lie was sincere in his belief in the 
legitimacy of the Mughal claim and it is said that 
Shahu protested when the Delhi Danvaja gate 
of Poona was built by the Pcshwa, that a gate 
facing the north would mean defiance and insult 
to the Badshah. What Shahu sincerely believed, 
the Peshwas found most convenient to continue. 
Further, they actually tried to derive what 
advantage they could from that policy. When 
Malwa was conquered by Maratha arms, they did 
not hesitate to have their claims strengthened by 
an imperial grant. The celebrated Mahadaji 
Sindhia simply followed this traditional policy 
when he obtained for his master, the Pcshwa, the 
farina n of Vakil-i-mutluq. The great Bala ji 
Janardan, better known as Nana Fadnavis, in his 

1 Gram Duff (Ocford Edition), VcL I, p. 334. 



2 4